Current Content
Volume 38 - Number 1
January February 2012

The Impact of Maternal Depression on Children with Asthma
Lauren Pak and Patricia Jackson Allen

This integrative literature review focuses on the impact of maternal depression on children with asthma. Maternal depression has a negative impact on a child’s growth, development, behavior, mental health, safety, and health care utilization. Mothers of children with chronic conditions such as asthma have higher rates of depression compared to mothers of children without a chronic condition. Research has shown that maternal depression has the potential to increase asthma morbidity and health care utilization. In addition, mothers with depressive symptoms report lower self-efficacy in their ability to care for their children with asthma, which can affect their ability to manage their child’s asthma with the prescribed medication regimen. To provide optimal care for children with asthma and their families, pediatric care providers must perform periodic depression screening to mothers or caregivers. Depressed mothers or caregivers of children with asthma require care coordination and management that consists of increased education on asthma and depression, and more frequent follow up than families without maternal/caregiver depression. These additional care measures have numerous positive benefits, including enhancing the quality of life in both the child and caregiver by improving asthma management in the child and depressive symptoms in the mother, as well as decreasing costs imposed on the economy through reduced emergency department visits, hospitalizations, missed work days, and missed school days.