Clinical determinants for State–Trait Anxiety Inventory of the parents of children with respiratory problems

Wicharn Boonjindasup, Julie M. Marchant, Margaret S. McElrea, Stephanie T. Yerkovich, Peter A. Newcombe, Anne B. Chang

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Backgrounds: Understanding factors associated with anxiety of parents/carers of children with respiratory problems is clinically important yet there is relative paucity of data. In 106 children seen in the respiratory clinic of a pediatric hospital, we evaluated (a) the determinants for parental anxiety and (b) whether the anxiety scores correlate with quality-of-life (QoL) scores in the subset with chronic cough. Methods: We opportunistically re-analyzed data of our main study that examined the benefits of using spirometry for pediatric respiratory consultation where parents completed an anxiety questionnaire (State–Trait Anxiety Inventory, STAI) pre- and postconsultation. A subset (children with chronic cough) also completed the parent-proxy quality-of-life (PC-QoL) tool. We computed the association between clinical characteristics and anxiety scores using multivariable regression and between the two patient-reported outcome measures using Spearman's correlation. Results: The majority of parents/carers were women (n = 89, 84%). Most children (mean age = 10.9 years, SD = 3.7 years) were previously seen at the clinic (n = 67, 63.2%). In multivariate regression, parental anxiety score was significantly associated with reported presence of cough [coefficient β = 17.31 (95% confidence interval 9.62, 25.1)] and lower forced expiratory volume in first second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) [−3.88 (−7.05, −0.71)] at preconsultation, but associated with cough only [coefficient β = 12.04 (5.24, 18.84)] at postconsultation, all p <.05. STAI strongly correlated with PC-QoL scores at pre- but only modestly at postconsultation (rs = −.63 and −.39, respectively, p <.05). Conclusion: Parental anxiety levels of children attending respiratory clinics are influenced by the presence of cough and low FEV1/FVC of their child and are associated with poorer QoL. These highlight the need for on-going research to reduce parental anxiety focusing on cough and lung function indices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Issue number1
Early online date26 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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