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Br J Dermatol. 2006 Mar;154(3):514-8.

Effect of childhood eczema and asthma on parental sleep and well-being: a prospective comparative study.

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Academic Unit of Child Health, University of Manchester, UK.



The psychological impact of childhood atopic eczema on parents and carers is poorly quantified. Objectives To compare the impact of caring for a child with atopic eczema vs. asthma on parents' sleep and well-being.


Ninety-two parents of 55 children who had moderate to severe atopic eczema or asthma took part in this prospective, questionnaire-based study. It was conducted at regional eczema and asthma outpatient clinics within a U.K. tertiary paediatric hospital. The main outcome measures were the number and duration of parents' sleep disturbances, as well as their anxiety and depression scores.


Mothers caring for children with atopic eczema lost a median of 39 min of sleep per night and fathers lost 45 min sleep per night. This compared with a median of 0 min sleep lost by parents who had children with asthma (P < 0.001). These differences were independent of the age of the children, and whether the child came from a single-parent or two-parent family. There was a direct correlation between the severity of sleep disturbance and the level of maternal anxiety (rho = 0.58; P = 0.002) and depression (rho = 0.73; P < 0.001), as well as the level of paternal anxiety (rho = 0.59; P = 0.01).


Compared with looking after a child with chronic asthma, caring for a child with chronic atopic eczema was associated with greater parental sleep disturbances. Disruption to parental sleep correlated with anxiety levels and, in the case of mothers, depression scores.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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