Risks of developing psychiatric disorders in pediatric patients with psoriasis

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Oct;67(4):651-7.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2011.11.948. Epub 2012 Jan 13.


Background: Symptoms of psoriasis can be embarrassing and distressing, and may increase risk of developing psychiatric disorders in young people.

Objective: We sought to compare incidences of psychiatric disorders between pediatric patients with psoriasis and psoriasis-free control subjects.

Methods: Patients (<18 years) with continuous health plan enrollment 6 months before and after first psoriasis diagnosis (index date) were selected (Thomson Reuters MarketScan database, 2000-2006 [Thomson Reuters, New York, NY]). Patients with psoriasis (N = 7404) were matched 1:5 on age and sex to psoriasis-free control subjects (N = 37,020). Patients were followed from index date to first diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder (ie, alcohol/drug abuse, depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, suicidal ideation, eating disorder), end of data availability, or disenrollment. Patients with psychiatric diagnoses or psychotropic medication use before the index date were excluded. Cox proportional hazard models controlling for age, sex, and comorbidities were used to estimate the effect of psoriasis on risks of developing psychiatric disorders.

Results: Patients with psoriasis were significantly more at risk of developing psychiatric disorders versus control subjects (5.13% vs 4.07%; P = .0001; hazard ratio = 1.25; P = .0001), especially depression (3.01% vs 2.42%; P = .0036; hazard ratio = 1.25; P = .0053) and anxiety (1.81% vs 1.35%; P = .0048; hazard ratio = 1.32; P = .0045).

Limitations: Retrospective, observational studies of medical claims data are typically limited by overall quality and completeness of data and accuracy of coding for diagnoses and procedures.

Conclusions: Pediatric patients with psoriasis had an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety, compared with psoriasis-free control subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy
  • Bipolar Disorder / epidemiology
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Psoriasis / epidemiology*
  • Psoriasis / psychology*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Young Adult


  • Psychotropic Drugs