Child maltreatment and pediatric asthma: a review of the literature

Hannah M C Schreier, Edith Chen, Greg Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Child maltreatment is a common problem with known adverse consequences, yet its contributions to the development and course of pediatric asthma are only poorly understood.

This review first describes possible pathways connecting child maltreatment to pediatric asthma, including aspects of the physical home environment, health behaviors and disease management, and psychological consequences of child maltreatment. We subsequently review existing studies, which generally report an association between maltreatment experiences and asthma outcomes in childhood. However, this literature is in its early stages; there are only a handful studies, most of them rely on self-reports of both child maltreatment and asthma history, and none have investigated the physiological underpinnings of this association. Taken together, however, the studies are suggestive of child maltreatment playing a role in pediatric asthma incidence and expression that should be explored further.

Existing data are sparse and do not allow for specific conclusions. However, the data are suggestive of child maltreatment influencing asthma risk and morbidity long before the adult years. Future research should focus on understanding how child maltreatment contributes to asthma disease risk and progression in this highly vulnerable population.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAsthma Research and Practice
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2016


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