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Br J Dermatol. 2004 Feb;150(2):304-11.

Psychological adjustment in parents of young children with atopic dermatitis: which factors predict parental quality of life?

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Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Germany.



Bringing up children with atopic dermatitis (AD) is widely perceived as being stressful because parenting demands considerable time and energy. There have been only a few studies to assess the extent of problems experienced by the parents.


To assess the psychosocial well-being of parents caring for a young child with AD and to examine the relationship between parental quality of life and disease-related and sociodemographic variables.


One hundred and eighty-seven parents of young children with AD attending an inpatient rehabilitation clinic participated in the study. At admission, parents completed a set of questionnaires (assessing health-related quality of life, coping with the disease, family functioning). Dermatologists assessed disease severity using the severity scoring of AD index (SCORAD).


In general, parents cope well with their situation. Compared with normal values, high rates of psychological distress were observed in a subsample of parents of children with AD. Parents of children with a higher severity of disease reported a significantly higher impact on family functioning, a greater financial burden and a higher level of disease management. Parental disease management could be predicted by the familial situation, their personal well-being and the severity of disease of their child. Differences attributed to their child's gender or age were not observed.


Childhood AD has a profound impact on the emotional and social well-being of many of the parents. The results underline the importance of psychological treatment approaches designed to increase parental well-being and ability to cope with stress and social strain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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