Individuals with asthma experience increased depressive symptoms, which is associated with deleterious health outcomes. No studies have examined depressive symptom trajectories among individuals with asthma despite increased risk. This study expanded prior literature by identifying the following: (1) depressive symptoms trajectories for individuals with and without asthma and (2) predictors of baseline levels and changes in symptoms across time for individuals with asthma.
Adolescents with (N = 965) and without (N = 7,392) asthma self-reported on depressive symptoms (CESD-9) across development. Covariates included: demographics and persistence of asthma. Latent growth curve modeling (LGCM) was used to identify depressive symptom trajectories and their predictors.
A multigroup LCGM identified no significant differences between depressive symptom trajectories of individuals with and without asthma. Depressive symptoms followed a quadratic shape across time for individuals with asthma (Mintercept = 5.73, p < .00; Mlinear = −0.38,p < .001; Mquad = 0.03, p < .001), with a linear deceleration in depressive symptoms during adolescence and an acceleration of symptoms into adulthood. Next predictors of depressive trajectories among individuals with asthma were examined. Female sex (B = 0.58, p < .001), lower parent education (B = −0.57, p < .001), older age (B = 0.19, p < .001), and identifying as Black (B = 0.31, p = .04) were associated with greater baseline depressive symptoms. Older individuals exhibited faster linear symptom decelerations (B = −0.56, p < .001) and faster symptom accelerations (B = 0.73, p < .001). American Indian (AIAN) individuals exhibited faster linear symptom decelerations (B = −1.98, p = .005) and faster quadratic accelerations (B = 3.33, p = .007).
Our results suggest that the depressive symptom trajectories of individuals with asthma are curvilinear and similar to individuals without asthma. When examining predictors of depressive symptom trajectories for those with asthma, socioeconomic disadvantage and racial marginalization were associated with greater baseline depressive symptoms. Although AIAN youth demonstrated more favorable trajectories in adolescence, they also exhibited worse trajectories across young adulthood and adulthood. Findings suggest the need to better understand the impact of multilevel risk and protective factors on depressive symptoms trajectories for individuals with asthma, especially marginalized populations.