Background: Positive associations between asthma and a range of mental disorders have been increasingly reported
in cross-sectional studies. It is important to determine whether the association between asthma and mental disorders may be
causal. Objectives: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using data
collected from the 2007 Australia Mental Health and Wellbeing survey (MHW) to examine
whether preexisting asthma may predict the likelihood of various types of
anxiety disorders and affective disorders. Design, Settings and Subjects: The
2007 MHW survey was a nationally representative
household survey. Its data included 8841 Australian adults aged 18 - 85
yrs. Age at first onset of asthma and mental disorders were used to reveal the
order of occurrence of asthma and mental disorders, and to define time at risk
and asthma exposure. Kaplan-Meier failure function and multivariate Poisson regression
models were employed in analysis. Results: Participants who had a history of
asthma that lasted six months or more were at higher risk of panic disorder,
obsessive compulsive disorder, posttraumatic
stress disorder, bipolar disorder, mania and hypomania. The
association between asthma history and risk of mental disorder subtypes
differed by gender. Conclusion: The findings of this study support the
hypothesis that pre-existing asthma increases the risk of a number of anxiety
disorders and affective disorders. Predisposition
to carbon dioxide hypersensitivity and corticosteroid therapy may
partly explain the observed associations.
Cite this paper
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