Published: 27 October 2022

Authors: Yueh-Ying Han, Qi Yan, Wei Chen, Juan C. Celedón

Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 206


    Background Child maltreatment is associated with asthma in adults. We examined whether lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) or lifetime generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) mediate an association between child maltreatment and current asthma among 81 105 British adults in the UK Biobank who completed a mental health survey and had complete data on child maltreatment, GAD, MDD, asthma and relevant covariates but no diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

    Methods Child maltreatment was ascertained based on answers to the five questions in the Childhood Trauma Screener. Two mediators, lifetime MDD and GAD, were assessed based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Short Form. Current asthma was defined as physician-diagnosed asthma and wheeze or whistling in the chest in the previous year. Logistic regression was used for the multivariable analysis of child maltreatment and current asthma, and a mediation analysis was conducted to estimate the contributions of lifetime MDD and lifetime GAD to the child maltreatment–current asthma association.

    Results In a multivariable analysis, any child maltreatment was associated with asthma (adjusted OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.15–1.28; p<0.01). In a mediation analysis adjusted for household income, educational attainment, smoking status, pack-years of smoking and other covariates, lifetime GAD and lifetime MDD explained 21.8% and 32.5%, respectively, of the child maltreatment–current asthma association. Similar results were obtained after excluding current smokers and former smokers with ≥10 pack-years of smoking from the mediation analysis.

    Conclusion Our findings suggest that GAD and MDD mediate an association between child maltreatment and asthma in adults, independently of smoking.

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