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Increased School Absenteeism Associated with Atopic Dermatitis

A cross-sectional study determined that children with atopic dermatitis (AD) had increased chronic school absenteeism vs children with psoriasis, finding an increased burden on quality of life in these patients.

Cheng and Silverberg sought to determine the burden and predictors of chronic school absenteeism in children with AD and psoriasis. Using data from the 1999-2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys, a cross-sectional, population-based study of US health status and function, the authors analyzed the outcomes by logistic regression.

The results of the analysis revealed that among 3132 children with AD and 200 children with psoriasis, 1544 (67.7%) and 97 (62.5%), respectively, missed at least 1 day of school due to their disease. In addition, 120 (3.9%) children with AD and 5 (3.6%) with psoriasis missed 15 days or more (ie, were chronically absent) per year.

Overall, AD was associated with chronic absenteeism (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.42;  95% CI, 1.13-1.78) as well as heightened severity with the disease (mild-moderate AOR, 1.33 [95% CI, 1.04-1.70]; severe AOR 2.00 [95% CI, 1.21-3.32]). Comparatively, there was no statistical difference in chronic absenteeism found for children with vs without psoriasis (AOR, 1.26 [95% CI, 0.51-3.12]).

The study also noted that parents of children with AD were more likely to miss work for caregiving vs parents of children without AD. A similar result in work absenteeism was found for parents of children with vs without psoriasis.

“US children with AD were more prone to chronic school absenteeism,” wrote the study authors. They added that further interventions may be necessary to prevent school absenteeism in childhood AD.—Jessica Garlewicz

Cheng BT, Silverberg JI. Association of pediatric atopic dermatitis and psoriasis with school absenteeism and parental work absenteeism: a cross-sectional United States population-based study. J Am Acad Dermatol. Published online March 2, 2021. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2021.02.069

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