METHODS: The Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA) study examined a birth cohort at high risk for asthma with parental history of allergic disease and/or asthma through age 7 years (n=442). From birth to age 7, we annually assessed maternal stress using the 4-item Perceived Stress Scale and maternal depression using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Respiratory phenotypes describing longitudinal atopy, wheeze, and lung function were identified using a latent class mixture model. Differences among these phenotypes in maternal stress and depression were examined using analysis of variance.
RESULTS: We identified 5 phenotype groups of childhood wheezing and atopy: 1) low wheeze, low atopy (“LW-LA,” n=117); 2) low wheeze, high atopy (“LW-HA,” n=81); 3) transient wheeze, low atopy (“TW-LA,” n=75); 4) high wheeze, low atopy (“HW-LA,” n=101); and 5) high wheeze, high atopy (“HW-HA,” n=68). Significant differences were found across phenotypes in maternal depression and perceived stress for all time points examined, with the highest reported values in the HW-LA group.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that early life exposures in children at high-risk for asthma to maternal stress and depression are specifically associated with the HW-LA respiratory phenotype.