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Summary

Background  Several studies reported that adults with chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) frequently exhibit psychiatric comorbidity, most commonly depression and anxiety disorders. However the literature about children is limited.

Objectives  To investigate the frequency of psychiatric disorders and to determine the levels of depression, anxiety and behavioural problems in a group of children with CIU.

Methods  The study included 27 children with CIU and 27 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects. Psychiatric assessment was done by using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School Age Children–Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL). The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAI-C), Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) were used to examine the levels of depression, anxiety and behavioural behaviours, respectively.

Results  The study group had more frequent psychiatric diagnoses than the control group (70% vs. 30%) and the most common psychiatric disorders were social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder and specific phobia. Depression, trait anxiety, internalizing problems, somatic complaints and anxiety/depressed scores were significantly higher in children with CIU. No correlation was found between the severity and duration of illness and psychological functioning.

Conclusion  This study showed that children with CIU had high psychiatric morbidity. The results suggest that the psychological status of children with CIU should be screened by clinicians and that an interdisciplinary approach combining dermatological and psychiatric evaluations is necessary for the management of CIU.