Body Image Drawing Test Might Help Assess Children with Asthma. (Exploring Emotional State)

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO--A simple body image drawing test is a useful tool for assessing the emotional state of children with asthma, Dr. Kim Kelsay suggested in a poster session at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

The finding is important because negative body perceptions may be related to negative emotions and symptoms such as anxiety and depression, said Dr. Kelsay, a psychiatrist who codirects the day treatment program at National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver.

"We don't know a lot about the body image of children with asthma, but we do know that kids with asthma often have a hard time differentiating the symptoms of their disease, and they've often been on a lot of steroids, so they're overweight," she said. "Also, kids with asthma clinically have a hard time talking about emotions, so the more tools we have to understand their experience, the better job we're going to do."

For the study, she and her associates enrolled 123 patients aged 8-18 years with mild to severe asthma. Half were female, and the sample was racially mixed.

During a clinic visit patients completed the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children, a 39-question survey designed to assess anxiety disorders in children (J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 36[4]:554-65, 1997); the Children's Depression Inventory a 27-question survey designed to assess depression symptoms in children aged 7-17 (Psychopharmacol. Bull. 21[4]:995-98, 1985); and the Body Picture Draw Test for Children.

First described by German researchers in 1998 (Psychother. …

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