The effect of parental responsiveness and family conflict on inflammatory markers in a sample of youth with asthma.
Prior evidence suggests that both parental responsiveness and family conflict are linked to the health and health-related biology of children. The current study examined how parental responsiveness and family conflict prospectively relate to children’s circulating levels of inflammatory immune markers. In a sample of 140 youth with asthma and their primary caregivers, youth wore the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) over four days to assess conflict and responsiveness in their family environments. At the end of the four-day period and one year later, peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated, cultured, and assayed to determine stimulated levels of interleukin (IL)-5, interleukin (IL)-13, and interferon-γ (IFN-γ). Regression analyses revealed that parental responsiveness—but not conflict— predicted lower circulating levels of IL-5 (but not IL-13 or IFNγ) at the one-year follow-up. The results held when controlling for EAR-observed family conflict, demographic markers, and baseline levels of IL-5.