To assess whether adolescents with asthma experience a lower mental wellbeing and lower general health than their non-asthmatic peers.
Data from the Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy (PIAMA) study were used. At the ages of 11, 14, 17 and 20 years, respectively 2651, 2522, 2094 and 2206 participants completed questionnaires. Their parents completed questionnaires at the ages of 11 (n = 2660), 14 (n = 2338) and 17 years (n = 1872). Asthma was defined according to the Mechanisms of the Development of Allergy (MeDALL) criteria. Mental wellbeing was measured using the Mental Health Index-5 and was reported by the adolescents. General health, measured on a 4-point Likert scale, was reported by the adolescents and their parents. We estimated associations of asthma with mental wellbeing and perceived general health using generalized estimating equations.
At ages 11, 14, 17, and 20 years 6.7%, 6.9%, 5.0% and 6.6%, respectively, of the adolescents had asthma. Adolescents with asthma did not score differently on the MHI than their non-asthmatic peers. Adolescents with asthma were less likely to experience good or excellent health than their peers without asthma (adjusted OR: 0.37; 95% CI: 0.26 to 0.51 for intermittent asthma and 0.33; 95% CI: 0.25 to 0.41 for persistent asthma). These results remain similar across the different ages.
The mental wellbeing of adolescents with asthma is similar to that of their non-asthmatic peers, though asthmatic adolescents are less likely to perceive a good or excellent general health.