Anxiety and Asthma Symptoms in Urban Adolescents with Asthma: The Mediating Role of Illness Perceptions

  • Meghan E. McGrady
  • Sian Cotton
  • Susan L. Rosenthal
  • Yvonne Humenay Roberts
  • Maria Britto
  • Michael S. Yi

Twenty to 40% of adolescents with asthma experience significant symptoms of anxiety. This study examined the mediational role of illness perceptions in the relationship between anxiety and asthma symptoms in adolescents. One hundred fifty-one urban adolescents (ages 11–18) with asthma completed measures of illness perceptions, and anxiety and asthma symptoms. Using the Baron and Kenny approach and Sobel tests, we examined whether illness perceptions mediated the anxiety-asthma symptom relationship. Three illness perceptions significantly mediated the relationship between anxiety and asthma symptoms, z = 1.97–2.13, p < .05; adjusted R 2 = 0.42–0.51, p < .05. Greater anxiety symptoms were associated with perceptions that asthma negatively impacted one’s life and emotions and was difficult to control. These negative illness perceptions were, in turn, related to greater asthma symptoms. Illness perceptions helped explain the anxiety-asthma symptoms link in adolescents. Results suggest that targeting illness perceptions in adolescents with asthma and anxiety may help reduce asthma symptoms.


Asthma Anxiety Adolescents Illness perceptions 



This work was supported by a National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Grant # K23 HD052639 (Cotton, PI).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meghan E. McGrady
    • 1
    • 7
  • Sian Cotton
    • 2
    • 3
  • Susan L. Rosenthal
    • 4
  • Yvonne Humenay Roberts
    • 1
  • Maria Britto
    • 5
  • Michael S. Yi
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Community MedicineUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsColumbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Division of Adolescent MedicineCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  6. 6.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA
  7. 7.Department of Family and Community MedicineUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA

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