Quality of life and disease severity are correlated in children with atopic dermatitis

Br J Dermatol. 2004 Feb;150(2):284-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2004.05776.x.


Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) in children may affect their daily activities and normal development. It can have a negative impact on the child's behaviour. Little is known about the quality of life (QOL) in children and its relationship to disease severity, especially from a community-based study.

Objectives: To document the impact of AD on children's QOL and its relationship to disease severity.

Methods: The targeted population, before recruitment, comprised children with AD aged 5-10 years from a primary care setting. Their general practitioners identified potential patients and the U.K. diagnostic criteria for AD were used to verify the diagnosis. Eczema severity was assessed using the SCORAD (SCORing Atopic Dermatitis) index. The Children's Dermatology Life Quality Index (CDLQI) was used to quantify the impact of AD on children's QOL. These two parameters were evaluated on two occasions 6 months apart. The Spearman correlation coefficient and multiple regressions were used in statistical analysis.

Results: Of the 116 children attending the first QOL assessment visit, 78 (mean age 8.6 years, 44 girls and 34 boys) were able to complete the CDLQI. Of these 78 children, 71 (91%) attended the second visit, and were included in the analysis. The children's QOL was affected in 65 (92%) and 55 (77%) children attending the first and second visits, respectively. The CDLQI was significantly correlated with the SCORAD at the first and second visits (r=0.52, P<0.001 and r=0.59, P<0.001, respectively). Each unit change in the SCORAD was associated with a 0.12 (95% confidence interval 0.04-0.19, P=0.004) unit change in the children's QOL.

Conclusions: We have shown a positive correlation between children's QOL and disease severity on cross-sectional and over time observation. This highlights the impact of AD on children's life. It also draws attention to the long-term effect on children's behaviour and development. In addition, these findings may imply that the CDLQI could be used as an extra measure of disease assessment in clinical practice and research studies.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index