Study links maternal depression and atopic dermatitis among adolescents

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In a new study, released in the peer-reviewed journal Dermatitis, researchers at George Washington University declared that postpartum depression and maternal depression heightened the risk of atopic dermatitis (AD) among adolescents.

The study examined data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, comprised of approximately 4,900 children born in more than a dozen U.S. metropolitan cities. Atopic dermatitis is characterized as a chronic skin disease causing physical and behavioral symptoms.

As stated in the findings: “Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease associated with considerable burden and mental health symptoms.”

“We sought to determine the association of maternal depression in the postpartum period and maternal and paternal depression in later childhood with AD prevalence and persistence in US children.”

In prior studies, researchers were able to determine how environmental factors could affect atopic dermatitis. In the new study, it was found that increased chances of developing atopic dermatitis later in childhood became more evident among sufferers of postpartum depression.

“Our results further suggest that postpartum depression is associated with AD even in older children and adolescents, with more persistent disease and greater sleep disturbance,” said Jonathan Silverberg, co-author of the study.

“In conclusion, maternal depression in the postpartum period and beyond is associated with AD throughout childhood and adolescence.”