Bidirectional relationships between psychological health and dermatological conditions in children

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Mitchell, Amy E
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Dermatological conditions are common among children. They are a frequent cause of presentation to health care services and a leading contributor to burden of disease. Evidence supports the notion that bidirectional relationships exist between children’s physical and psychological health, whereby the child’s dermatological condition can impact their psychological health and well-being, while, in the reverse direction, psychological factors (eg, stress) can impact the severity and course of the child’s skin disease. The psychological impact of dermatological conditions in childhood needs to be taken into account during the assessment, planning, and treatment phases of management. Likewise, the potential effect of children’s emotional and behavioral difficulties on management, particularly in terms of the impact on parents’ ability to implement their child’s treatment plan, should be considered. This literature review summarizes the current evidence for the relationships between three common chronic dermatological conditions of childhood – atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and urticaria – and psychological adjustment and quality of life in childhood. Overall, a general paucity of research in the pediatric context – combined with limitations in terms of study design, variability in operationalization of constructs, and heterogeneity in measurement of outcomes – makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions in this area. Based on the available research, implications for successful long-term management of these conditions are discussed in terms of integrating psychological and parenting support with medical management to improve adherence, reduce disease severity, and improve quality of life for children and their families.

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Psychology Research and Behavior Management
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© 2018 Mitchell. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (
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Mitchell, AE, Bidirectional relationships between psychological health and dermatological conditions in children, Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 2018, 11, pp. 289-298