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The Effects of Caregiver Social Support and Depressive Symptoms on Child Medication Adherence and Asthma Control.

Margolis RHF, Dababnah S, Sacco P, Jones-Harden B, Bollinger ME, Butz A, Bellin MH. The Effects of Caregiver Social Support and Depressive Symptoms on Child Medication Adherence and Asthma Control. Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities. 2022 Aug 1; 9(4):1234-1242.

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The purpose of this study was to examine relationships among caregiver social support, caregiver depressive symptoms, medication adherence, and asthma control in a sample of low-income, urban, Black children aged 3-12 years with uncontrolled asthma and their caregivers. Using longitudinal data from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) assessing the efficacy of an environmental control educational intervention, we used generalized estimating equations and ordered logistic regression models to evaluate the relationship between caregiver social support (Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey), depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale), and two child asthma outcomes: (a) medication adherence (Asthma Medication Ratio) and (b) asthma control. At baseline, 45.7% of the 208 children had very poorly controlled asthma. Nearly a third of caregivers (97% female) had clinically significant depressive symptoms at each data collection point. Social support was not associated with either asthma outcome nor did it moderate the relationship between depressive symptoms and child asthma outcomes. Higher caregiver depressive symptoms predicted decreased medication adherence (b = -0.003, SE 0.002). Moderate asthma at baseline (OR: 0.305, SE: 0.251), severe asthma at baseline (OR: 0.142, SE: 0.299), household income < $20,000 per year (OR: 0.505, SE: 0.333), and fall season (OR: 0.643, SE: 0.215) were associated with poorer asthma control. Attending to the social context of low-income, urban, Black children with asthma is critical to reduce asthma morbidity. Maternal depressive symptoms are modifiable and should be targeted in interventions to improve child asthma outcomes in this vulnerable population. The RCT was registered with (NCT01981564) in October 2013.

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