Asthma and anxiety in children and adolescents: characteristics and treatment outcomes.

Nicole J Fleischer, Elizabeth Gosch, Michael B Roberts, Anne Marie Albano, Golda Ginsburg, John Piacentini, Boris Birmaher, Scott N Compton, John Walkup, Philip C Kendall, Matthew M Carper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: This study (a) examined anxious youth with and without asthma on measures of negative self-talk, parental psychopathology, worry content, physical symptoms, panic symptoms, generalized symptoms, and separation anxiety symptoms, and (b) tested if outpatient CBT or medication were differentially effective in reducing anxiety for youth with asthma and anxiety.

METHODS: This secondary analysis separated youth with an anxiety disorder into asthma and non-asthma groups. Youth were also compared on response to treatments (i.e. CBT, sertraline, combined, and placebo).

RESULTS: A total of 488 participants participated in the original study, with an average age of 10 years ( SD 2.87). Youth with comorbid asthma and anxiety demonstrated higher rates of negative self-talk. Youth with comorbid asthma and anxiety did not differ from the non-asthma group on measures of physical symptoms, anxiety disorder specific symptoms, parental psychopathology, or worry content. Youth with asthma and anxiety responded similarly to the non-asthma group to treatment across treatment conditions.

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment was comparably effective for youth with comorbid asthma and anxiety and youth with anxiety. Future research could examine the effects of psychopharmaceuticals on asthma and anxiety comorbidity.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalThe Journal of Asthma
StatePublished - Nov 6 2023


  • Pediatrics
  • behavioral health
  • behavioral medicine
  • psychopathology


  • Allergy and Immunology
  • Medicine and Health Sciences

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