The influence of a caregiver's stress on the development of childhood asthma is an important aspect of the treatment and prevention of illness. Many cross-sectional studies have investigated the association between parenting attitude and/or caregiver's stress and childhood asthma morbidity, but prospective studies are more advantageous than cross-sectional studies in interpreting a causal relationship from the results. We here present an overview of prospective studies that have reported a relationship between parental stress and the morbidity or course of childhood asthma and discuss the role of parental mental health in its prevention and treatment. Almost all of the studies referred to in this paper show that caregiver (mostly mothers) stress contributed to the onset and to a poor prognosis, while only a few studies have examined the adverse effect of paternal stress on childhood asthma. Their results are inconsistent, and there is insufficient data examining specific stress-related properties that can be targeted in intervention studies. Not only maternal but also paternal influence should be considered in future studies, and it will be important to assess specific stress-related properties that can be the foundation of specific intervention methods.
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