Asthma is a serious respiratory condition commonly attributed to exposure to traffic pollution, but another factor might play an additional role in developing asthma: home life. According to a new study, a stressful family environment can aggravate asthma. Evidently, the amount of stress parents experience impacts how likely their kids are to be diagnosed with asthma.
Overall, the research found that the effects of air pollution were more pronounced in children who also lived in a stressful environment. Though the reason for this correlation is not definitively known, researchers believe that children can feel the stress of their parents. Combined with the harms of pollutants in the air, these factors cause airway inflammation, which results in asthma.
The most common stress inducers for families are a lack of higher education, an annual income of less than $30,000, not having health insurance, cockroach infestations, and a lack of air conditioning in the home. Moreover, having a smoker in the family nearly doubles the stress levels, not to mention adds to the poor quality of air children are inhaling.
Because of their findings, researchers suggest regulating the amount of traffic pollution near neighborhoods and schools where children are at higher risk for these forms of psychosocial stress.