Child Allergic Symptoms and Mental Well-Being: The Role of Maternal Anxiety and Depression

Alison Teyhan, Bruna Galobardes, A J W Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


To determine whether maternal mental health mediates the relationship between eczema or asthma symptoms and mental well-being in children.

Study design
Analysis of 7250 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Child mental well-being at 8 years was measured by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Binary outcomes were high ‘internalizing’ (anxious/depressive) and ‘externalizing’ (oppositional/hyperactive) problems (high was >90th percentile). Child rash and wheeze categories were ‘none’; ‘early onset transient’ (infancy/preschool only); ‘persistent’ (infancy/preschool and at school age); and ‘late onset’ (school age only). Maternal anxiety and depression were reported during pregnancy and when child was 8 years old.

Persistent wheezing symptoms were associated with high externalizing (OR 1.74, 95% CI, 1.41-2.15) and internalizing (1.67, 1.35-2.06) problems compared with never wheeze. Maternal anxiety and depression, and disrupted child sleep, attenuated these associations. Persistent rash (externalizing: 1.74, 1.40-2.15; internalizing: 1.42, 1.16-1.74) and late onset rash (externalizing: 1.62, 1.17-2.25; internalizing: 1.46, 1.07-1.99) symptoms were associated with poorer mental well-being compared with no rash at any age. Maternal anxiety and depression, particularly when child was aged 8 years rather than during pregnancy, accounted for the association with internalizing symptoms and partly for externalizing symptoms. Sleep disruption did not mediate the association.

Maternal anxiety and depression may mediate the association between child rash and wheeze and child mental well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-599.e5
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • ADHD, Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; ALSPAC, Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children; SEP, Socioeconomic position; TDS, Total difficulties score

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