New Study: Children with atopic dermatitis (AD) might be at increased risk of of mental health disorders

A study into the associations between atopic dermatitis and mental health conditions revealed that the disease was linked to symptoms of depression and internalizing behaviors that carried on through childhood and adolescence.

Investigators led by Joy Wan, MD, MSCE, Department of Dermatology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, believed the findings highlighted the importance of behavioral and mental health awareness in young populations.

Atopic dermatitis has been considered one of the most common inflammatory skin diseases, affecting up to 15%-20% of pediatric populations worldwide.

Associations between the disease and anxiety, suicidal ideation, and depression had been confirmed in earlier studies, though most studies had focused on adult populations.

According to investigators, pediatric depression often goes untreated and under-diagnosed, likely due to the subtle symptoms recorded.

A total of 11,181 children participated in the study. Each participating family had a child with at least 1 completed atopic dermatitis assessment and 1 completed mood questionnaire.

Wan and colleagues found that children with symptoms of depression were more likely to be female (2673 of 4710). [56.8%] usa 2767 of 6471 [42.8%]), from a higher social class (243 of 4710 [5.2%] usa 317 of 6471 [4.9%]).

In addition, the period prevalence of symptoms of depression, as measured by the SMFQ, increased from 6.0% at age 10 to 21.6% at age 18.

The study, “Association of Atopic Dermatitis and Mental Health Outcomes Across Childhood, A Longitudinal Cohort Study,” was published online in JAMA Dermatology.

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