Positive experiences and the relationship between stress and asthma in children

Ahola, S., McCann, D.C., McGuinness, D., Oja, H., Paton, J.Y. and Sandberg, S. (2002) Positive experiences and the relationship between stress and asthma in children. Acta Paediatrica, 91, pp. 152-158. (doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2002.tb01687.x)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Ninety children aged 6 to 13 y and suffering from chronic asthma were included in a prospective follow-up study lasting 18 mo in order to assess whether life events involving substantial positive effects on the child can protect against the increased risk associated with stressful life events. The main outcome measures included positive life events, positive long-term experiences, severely negative life events, chronic psychosocial stress and new asthma exacerbation. The results showed that, provided they occurred in close proximity to severely negative life events, positive life events, generally related to the child's own achievements, afforded protection against the increased risk of a new asthma exacerbation precipitated by severe events in children whose lives were marked by low to medium levels of chronic stress. No such effect was found in children exposed to high chronic stress nor did long-term positive experiences, such as when the child has a rewarding hobby, affect the asthma risk.<p></p> CONCLUSION: Life events with a definite positive effect can counteract the increased risk of an asthma exacerbation precipitated by a severely negative life event, provided the chronic stress is only of low to medium level. Because this protective influence does not apply where there is high chronic stress, reducing this condition must be seen as a priority in children suffering from asthma, as these children are also more vulnerable to negative life events precipitating asthma exacerbation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Paton, Dr James
Authors: Ahola, S., McCann, D.C., McGuinness, D., Oja, H., Paton, J.Y., and Sandberg, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Clinical Specialities
Journal Name:Acta Paediatrica
Journal Abbr.:Acta Paediatr.
ISSN (Online):1651-2227
Published Online:02 January 2007
Related URLs:

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record