Introduction Although there is evidence that atopic and non-atopic asthma have distinct risk factors and immunological mechanisms, there are few studies that consider the effect of psychosocial factors on these asthma phenotypes. We aimed to identify if the effects of common maternal mental health disorders and the presence of family social support on asthma occurrence in children.
Methods A cross-sectional study including 1042 children from an inner city area of Salvador in the state of Bahia, Brazil (part of the SCAALA Program—Social Change, Allergy and Asthma in Latin America). Psychosocial data were collected through personal interview using SRQ-20 and Social Support Scale form Medical Outcome Study. We collected blood samples to measure allergen-specific IgE and we obtained socioeconomic and asthma data using the ISAAC questionnaire. We used polytomous regression analysis to estimate associations between maternal mental health, social support and atopic and non-atopic asthma. Effect modification was tested through polytomous regression analysis stratified by social support levels.
Results Maternal mental health had the same impact on atopic and non-atopic asthma, even after adjusting for confounding. Affective, material and informational supports have protective effects on non-atopic asthma only, and it seems that affective and material supports act as a buffer for the impact of maternal mental health disorders on non-atopic asthma.
Conclusions Maternal mental health affects asthma independently of biologic and environmental risk factors, and its effect is attenuated when the mother had affective and material social supports.