The Association between Maternal Stress and Childhood Eczema: A Systematic Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Feb 25;15(3):395. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15030395.


Eczema is a chronic atopic disease that is highly prevalent among children worldwide. Identification of factors that may contribute to childhood eczema is needed in order to develop strategies in its prevention. Over the past decade, accumulating evidence has suggested a potential correlation between the experience of stress by mothers and the risk of eczema development in their child. The present review attempts to provide an overview of the studies that contribute data on this correlation. The literature search was conducted using five databases, resulting in the inclusion of eleven studies in the review. The findings of these studies were summarized narratively. Further, an appraisal of the reporting quality of the included studies was conducted using a twelve-item checklist adapted from the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) checklist. Overall, the included studies showed that a positive correlation exists between the experience of stress among mothers and eczema risk of their child. The findings highlight the importance of the implementation of stress reduction programs for pregnant women and those in their postpartum period within communities in order to enable these individuals to relieve stress effectively.

Keywords: atopic dermatitis; childhood eczema; maternal stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatitis, Atopic / prevention & control
  • Eczema / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Postpartum Period
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*