Understanding the Comorbidity of Asthma and Anxiety in Childhood: Characteristics, Vulnerabilities, and Treatment Implications
Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP
Elizabeth Gosch PhD, ABPP
Susan M Panichelli Mindel, PhD
Phil Kendall, PhD
This study examined potential differences in youth (aged 7-17 years, 76% Caucasian, 52% female) with comorbid asthma and anxiety compared to youth with anxiety without asthma who received cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) alone, pharmacotherapy alone, the combination of pharmacotherapy or placebo pill in the Child/Adolescent Multimodal Study. Two groups were compared on negative self-talk; number of physical symptoms; parental anxiety; content of their worries; and presence of panic, generalized anxiety, and separation anxiety disorders across treatment conditions. Findings indicated that youth with asthma and anxiety were more likely to exhibit higher rates of negative self-talk than youth without asthma, possibly related to the realistic nature of asthma-related anxiety. This study also demonstrated that youth with asthma and anxiety demonstrated similar responses to traditional CBT when compared to youth without asthma. Given the large sample size, these findings support that traditional CBT and pharmacotherapy for anxiety may be an effective treatment for youth with mild to moderate asthma. Further research is needed to determine the efficacy of traditional CBT for youth with severe asthma.
Fleischer, Nicole, "Understanding the Comorbidity of Asthma and Anxiety in Childhood: Characteristics, Vulnerabilities, and Treatment Implications" (2020). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 533.