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Archive for September 19th, 2008

Over on my professional blog, one of my colleagues wrote a blog entry about a link between child abuse and asthma. She cites a research study that found that children who were either physically or sexually abused were twice as likely to develop asthma.

I am fascinated by this finding.

I do not have asthma, but my sister does. She has been diagnosed with occupational asthma, but we suspect that she might have asthma that is more chronic. Due to her financial situation, she keeps delaying getting that checked out.

I posted a thread over at Isurvive on this topic, and quite a few abuse survivors reported that they do, in fact, have asthma. Others reported other bronchial issues.

While I don’t have asthma, I do have severe allergies to dust mites, mold, and cats. I am not sure if that is related to the abuse or not.

Ironically, my son is the one who has asthma in our family, and he has not been abused in any way. However, his birth mother smoked during her pregnancy. (She did not discover she was pregnant until her third trimester, so she did not intentionally expose him to prenatal smoking.) There is a strong link between prenatal smoking and asthma, so I can’t say that this was a complete surprise.

I wonder if there is a direct link between child abuse and asthma or whether it ties into the lifestyle of many abusers. My most sadistic abusers smoked. Abusers use crutches to manage their issues, including harming children, so it would not surprise me to learn that a high percentage of child abusers smoke. If that is the case, then it could be the exposure to secondhand smoke that is the culprit rather than the abuse itself.

I would be curious to learn about additional studies on this topic.

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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