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Longitudinal relationships between family routines and biological profiles in youth with asthma Schreier, Hannah Milena Caroline

Abstract

While numerous studies have linked family routines to pediatric asthma outcomes, it remains unclear how family routines come to be associated with these outcomes on a biological level. The current study investigated whether longitudinal trajectories of inflammatory markers of asthma could be predicted by levels of family routines in youth with asthma. Family routines were assessed at baseline through parent questionnaires and peripheral blood samples obtained from youth every 6 months (total number of assessments = 4) over the course of an 18 month study period. Youth with more family routines in their home environment showed decreases in mitogen-stimulated production of a cytokine implicated in asthma, IL-13, over the course of the study period. In turn, within-person analyses indicated that at times when stimulated production of IL-13 was high, asthma symptoms were also high, pointing to the clinical relevance of changes in IL-13 over time. A variety of potential explanations for this effect were probed. Parental depression, stress, and general family functioning could not explain these effects, suggesting that family routines are not just a proxy for parent psychological traits or family relationship quality. However, medication use eliminated the relationship between family routines and stimulated production of IL-13. This suggests that family routines do impact asthma outcomes at the biological level, possibly through influencing medication adherence. Considering daily family behaviors when treating asthma may help improve both biological and clinical profiles in youth with asthma.

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