Financial stress and glucocorticoid resistance: The moderating role of parental involvement

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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Psychosom Med


Objectives: Socioeconomic status (SES) health disparities have been documented among youth with asthma, with children growing in more socioeconomically disadvantaged homes experiencing worse asthma symptoms and greater levels of inflammation than children from well-off families. However, recent evidence suggests that certain individual and family-level factors can mitigate these health disparities. In a group of children affected by asthma, we investigated the potential moderating role of parental involvement on financial stress and asthma-related immune responses, assessed via leukocytes glucocorticoid resistance (GR). Methods: One hundred and forty-three youth (age 10-16) with asthma completed measures of parental involvement, while their primary caregiver reported their level of education, income, and financial stress, which was objectively assessed with the UCLA Life Stress Interview. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from youth participants' blood were isolated, cultured, and assayed to determine mitogen-stimulated (PMA/INO + Etho) and mitogen/hydrocortisone-stimulated (PMA/INO + Cort) levels of interleukin(IL)-5, IL-13, and interferon(IFN)-γ. GR was calculated by subtracting log-transformed cytokines concentration in the PMA/INO + Etho samples from log-transformed cytokines concentration in the PMA/INO + Cort samples. A composite of GR for Th-2 cytokines was derived by combining IL-13 and IL-5 (N = 143), while a separate measure of GR for IFN-γ, a Th-1 cytokine (N = 132), was derived. Results: Regression analyses showed significant interaction effects between parental involvement and financial stress on the GR Th-2 cytokines composite (b = -0.122, SE = 0.044, p < .01), but not on GR for IFN-γ (b = -0.058, SE = 0.043, ns). Specifically, financial was negatively associated with Th-2 cytokines GR among children reporting low levels of parental involvement, but not among children reporting high levels of parental involvement. Further, moderated mediation analyses suggested that financial stress mediated the link between lower SES (income and education) and greater GR for Th-2 only for those children who reported lower levels of parental involvement. Conclusions: These results highlight the protective role of parental involvement on health-related biological processes modulated by SES among youth with asthma.





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