Effect of childhood eczema and asthma on parental sleep and well-being: A prospective comparative study

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    Background: The psychological impact of childhood atopic eczema on parents and carers is poorly quantified. Objectives: To compare the impact of caring for a child with atopic eczema vs. asthma on parents' sleep and well-being. Methods: Ninety-two parents of 55 children who had moderate to severe atopic eczema or asthma took part in this prospective, questionnaire-based study. It was conducted at regional eczema and asthma outpatient clinics within a U.K. tertiary paediatric hospital. The main outcome measures were the number and duration of parents' sleep disturbances, as well as their anxiety and depression scores. Results: Mothers caring for children with atopic eczema lost a median of 39 min of sleep per night and fathers lost 45 min sleep per night. This compared with a median of 0 min sleep lost by parents who had children with asthma (P <0.001). These differences were independent of the age of the children, and whether the child came from a single-parent or two-parent family. There was a direct correlation between the severity of sleep disturbance and the level of maternal anxiety (rho = 0.58; P = 0.002) and depression (rho = 0.73; P <0.001), as well as the level of paternal anxiety (rho = 0.59; P = 0.01). Conclusions: Compared with looking after a child with chronic asthma, caring for a child with chronic atopic eczema was associated with greater parental sleep disturbances. Disruption to parental sleep correlated with anxiety levels and, in the case of mothers, depression scores. © 2006 British Association of Dermatologists.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)514-518
    Number of pages4
    JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


    • Anxiety
    • Asthma
    • Atopic dermatitis
    • Depression
    • Parents
    • Sleep


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