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Family Support May Improve Asthma Outcomes in Poor Youth

Last Updated: July 19, 2019.

Better family relationships are associated with better asthma management behaviors and outcomes for those living in neighborhoods characterized as dangerous and/or disorderly, according to a study published online July 18 in Pediatrics.

FRIDAY, July 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Better family relationships are associated with better asthma management behaviors and outcomes for those living in neighborhoods characterized as dangerous and/or disorderly, according to a study published online July 18 in Pediatrics.

Edith Chen, Ph.D., from Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study to examine whether positive family relationships can buffer youth who live in dangerous and/or disorderly neighborhoods from poor asthma outcomes. The study included 308 youths from the Chicago area, aged 9 to 17 years, who were physician-diagnosed with asthma. Google Street View images were used to code neighborhood conditions around families' home addresses, and youth interviews were conducted to determine family relationship quality.

The researchers identified significant interactions between neighborhood conditions and family relationship quality. Family relationships were not associated with asthma when neighborhood danger and/or disorder was low. Better family relationship quality was associated with fewer asthma symptoms, fewer activity limitations, and higher forced expiratory volume in one second percentile when neighborhood danger and/or disorder was high. The patterns were similar for asthma management behaviors. Greater neighborhood danger and/or disorder was associated with greater T helper 1 and T helper 2 cytokine production and reduced glucocorticoid sensitivity.

"Although families may not be able to do much to change the neighborhoods in which they live, they may nonetheless be able to facilitate better asthma outcomes in their children through strong family relationships," the authors write.

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