Asthma and mental disorders in primary care

Renee D. Goodwin, Mark Olfson, Steven Shea, Rafael A. Lantigua, Olveen Carrasquilo, Marc J. Gameroff, Myrna M. Weissman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


This study examines relationships between asthma and likelihood of current mental disorders and suicidal ideation in an urban primary care population. A systematic waiting room sample of 998 adult patients was screened for mental disorders using the PRIME-MD PHQ. Asthma diagnoses were provided by primary care physicians. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine the odds of current major depression, panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, alcohol and drug use disorder, and suicidal ideation among patients with a diagnosis of asthma, as compared to those without asthma. After controlling for differences in sociodemographic characteristics and comorbid mental disorders, asthma was associated with increased likelihood of panic attack (OR=1.7 (1.1, 2.6)) and suicidal ideation (OR=1.9 (1.03, 3.4)). There was no statistically significant association between asthma and major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, alcohol, or drug use disorders after adjustment. Results suggest that physician-diagnosed asthma is associated with self-reported panic attacks and suicidal ideation in a systematic sample of primary care patients. Physicians who treat patients with asthma should remain vigilant for the presence of comorbid psychiatric problems and carefully evaluate whether there is a clinical need to treat each condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-483
Number of pages5
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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