Exploring the association between parental psychiatric disease and childhood atopic dermatitis: a matched case-control study


BACKGROUND: Maternal prenatal psychiatric disease has been identified as a possible risk factor for atopic dermatitis development in her children. We quantified the associations between maternal and paternal psychiatric disease and the development of atopic dermatitis in their offspring using nationwide registries.

METHODS: All children in Denmark born between 1 January 1996 and 31 December 2011 who developed atopic dermatitis prior to their fifth birthday were identified and individually matched 1:10 with controls from the general population and with children receiving care in a similar ambulatory/hospital setting. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS: A total of 8602 children with atopic dermatitis were matched with controls. Rates of parental psychiatric care were similar in the atopic dermatitis and control groups. When compared to the general population, weak associations were found between childhood atopic dermatitis and maternal history of depression [OR 1.18 (95% confidence interval: 1.12-1.26)], alcohol abuse [OR 1.37 (1.17-1.60)] and illicit drug use [OR 1.34 (1.14-1.60)]. However, associations became insignificant when the paediatric ambulatory/hospital control group was used [OR 1.05 (0.99-1.13)], [OR 1.14 (0.98-1.34)] and [OR 1.03 (0.88-1.22)], respectively. No paternal psychiatric disease or prenatal maternal psychiatric disease associated with the AD development in the offspring.

CONCLUSIONS: While we found no consistent associations between maternal or paternal psychiatric disease and the subsequent development of atopic dermatitis in their offspring, children of parents with substance abuse issues may be more likely to receive an atopic dermatitis diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology : JEADV
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)725-734
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Adult
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders/epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Depression/epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic/epidemiology
  • Fathers/psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders/epidemiology
  • Mental Health Services/statistics & numerical data
  • Mothers/psychology


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