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BACKGROUND: There is consistent evidence of the co-occurrence of poor mental health and asthma in Western populations. Since the experience and expression of mental health is partly culturally determined, it is of interest to examine if similar associations are found in other cultural settings. In that regard, very little is known about the association between mental health and asthma in Asian countries, such as China. PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between mental health and asthma in a large sample from China. METHOD: We used data from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study phase 3 (n = 9,280). Participants reported physician-diagnosed asthma. Mental health measures included the 15-item Chinese version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-C) and the SF-12 Mental Component Summary (MCS) score. We compared the prevalence of asthma by GDS-C and MCS scores by estimating prevalence ratios (PRs) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), using Poisson regression. RESULTS: Compared to those without depression, the prevalence of asthma was higher in those with moderate or severe depression levels (PR = 2.63, 95% CI = 1.58–4.40 and PR = 4.43, 95% CI = 1.62–12.09, p for trend ≤0.0001). The prevalence of asthma increased by 46% with every 1 standard deviation increase of the GDS-C score (PR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.24–1.73). The MCS score was not associated with asthma. CONCLUSION: Depressive symptoms were associated with asthma prevalence in a Chinese population. Further research into the mechanism and potential directions of causality is warranted.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Behav Med

Publication Date





259 - 264


Adult, Asthma, China, Cohort Studies, Confidence Intervals, Cultural Characteristics, Depression, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Health, Middle Aged, Prevalence