A longitudinal cohort study has found that severe atopic dermatitis (AD) was associated with symptoms of depression and internalizing behaviours throughout childhood and adolescence. The investigators also found that the risk of internalizing symptoms was increased even for children with mild AD beginning early in childhood.
Published online ahead of print in JAMA Dermatology (Sept. 1, 2021), the study used data on children followed from birth for a mean (SD) duration of 10.0 (2.9) years from the UK Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
A total of 11,181 children were included in the analysis.
The investigators found that although mild to moderate AD was not associated with symptoms of depression, it was associated with internalizing behaviours as early as four years of age. Severe AD was associated with both symptoms of depression and internalizing symptoms.
While children’s sleep quality mediated some of the association between AD and symptoms of depression, the association was not explained by differences in sleep duration, asthma or rhinitis, or levels of inflammatory markers including interleukin 6 and C-reactive protein.
The paper’s authors write that their findings highlight the importance of behavioural and mental health awareness in this population.