Objective: The psychologic, physical, and social impact of atopic dermatitis is complex and varies among children of different ages, and the effects of atopic dermatitis on the quality of life of very young American children and their families are not well understood. This study was conducted to document these effects of atopic dermatitis on young children and their families.
Methods: Directed focus sessions were performed with parents of 26 young children with atopic dermatitis and 6 expert clinicians. Specific mentions of the ways in which atopic dermatitis affected the children and parents were reviewed, rank ordered, and categorized according to similarity in content. The categories were examined to determine the domains represented, and the domains were used to compose a conceptual framework of all of the ways that atopic dermatitis affects children and their families.
Results: Parents and experts mentioned a total of 181 specific quality-of-life effects. A conceptual framework, developed from the 181 effects, contains the domains of physical health, emotional health, physical functioning, and social functioning; each domain includes effects on both the child and the parents.
Conclusions: Atopic dermatitis greatly affects the quality of life of afflicted children and their families. The comprehensive conceptual framework summarizes the ways in which atopic dermatitis affects the quality of life in young American children. This conceptual framework forms the basis from which quality-of-life instruments can be developed.