Risk of childhood asthma following prenatal exposure to negative life events and job stressors: A nationwide register-based study in Denmark

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Objectives This study aimed to examine the association between negative life events, job stressors (low job control or high psychosocial job demands) and offspring asthma phenotypes (early-onset transient, early-onset persistent and late-onset asthma).

Methods In a population-based cohort study comprising 547 533 liveborn singletons, we determined negative life events and offspring asthma at age six years using data from Danish nationwide registers. We assessed job demands and job control from gender-specific job exposure matrices. Prevalence ratios (PR) of each asthma phenotype were estimated using log-binomial regression.

Results Maternal exposure to negative life events prenatally was not significantly associated with offspring asthma. Among mothers with low job demands, low job control was associated with increased risk for early-onset transient asthma [PR=1.14, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09–1.19], early-onset persistent asthma (PR=1.17, 95% CI 1.11–1.23), and late-onset asthma (PR=1.06, 95% CI 1.00–1.14). Among mothers with high job demands, low job control was not associated with offspring asthma apart from a reduced risk of early-onset persistent asthma (PR=0.94, 95% CI 0.90–0.97). These associations were independent of child sex and parental atopic history.

Conclusions Maternal stressors in private life do not seem to influence offspring asthma significantly. Low job control is associated with offspring asthma, which is modified by maternal psychosocial job demands. Our findings warrant further exploration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)174-182
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • cohort, cohort study, job control, job demand, job stress, phenotype, stress, work stress

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