Risk of developing major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders among adolescents and adults with atopic dermatitis: a nationwide longitudinal study

J Affect Disord. 2015 Jun 1:178:60-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.02.025. Epub 2015 Mar 5.


Background: Previous cross-sectional studies have suggested a comorbid association between atopic dermatitis (AD) and depressive disorder as well as anxiety disorders, but the temporal relationship was not determined.

Methods: Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, 8208 AD patients aged 12 and older without psychiatric history and age-/sex-matched (1:1) controls between 1998 and 2008 were enrolled in our study and followed to the end of 2011. Subjects who developed major depression, any depressive disorder, and anxiety disorders during the follow-up were identified.

Results: The Cox regression analysis after adjusting for demographic data and atopic comorbidities demonstrated that patients with AD had an elevated risk of developing major depression (hazard ratio [HR]: 6.56, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.64-11.84), any depressive disorder (HR: 5.44, 95% CI: 3.99-7.44), and anxiety disorders (HR: 3.57, 95% CI: 2.55-4.98). Stratified by age group, both adolescents and adults with AD were prone to developing major depression (HR: 4.26, 95% CI: 1.39-13.13; HR: 7.56, 95% CI: 3.75-15.23), any depressive disorder (HR: 4.38, 95% CI: 2.09-9.18; HR: 5.66, 95% CI: 4.01-7.99), and anxiety disorders (HR: 5.40, 95% CI: 2.02-14.39; HR: 3.36, 95% CI: 2.38-4.80).

Conclusions: AD in both adolescence and adulthood increased the risk of developing major depression, any depressive disorder, and anxiety disorders in later life. Further studies would be required to clarify the possible underlying mechanism between AD and depression as well as anxiety disorders.

Keywords: Anxiety disorders; Atopic dermatitis; Major depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Databases, Factual
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Young Adult