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Summary

Background.  Quality of life (QoL) is impaired in children with atopic dermatitis (AD) but the various aspects of QoL may not be equally affected.

Aim.  To evaluate if age and gender affect some aspects of QoL in children with AD.

Method.  The Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index (CDLQI) was used for all children with AD seen at a paediatric dermatology clinic over a 3-year period. Disease severity was assessed using the SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) and Nottingham Eczema Severity Score (NESS) tools.

Results.  We reviewed CDLQI in 133 children (70 male and 63 female; age range 5–16 years) with AD. Itch, sleep disturbance, treatment and swimming/sports were the four aspects of QoL issues that were most commonly affected, in 50%, 47%, 38% and 29% of patients, respectively. Problems with interpersonal issues (friendship, school/holidays, and teasing/bullying) occurred in only a minority of children (≤ 10%). Girls had more problems with issues of clothes and shoes than did boys (OR = 2.86, 95% CI 1.05–8.00; P = 0.038). Significant itch and sleep disturbance affected both genders similarly but were generally more common in children ≤ 10 years (itch: OR = 2.31, 95% CI 1.04–5.14; P = 0.039; and sleep: OR = 2.31, 95% CI 1.05–5.13; P = 0.037).

Conclusions.  Not all aspects of QoL are affected equally in children with AD. The disease seems to affect personal domains of itch and sleep more than the interpersonal issues. Age and gender are relevant factors in QoL, with the issue of clothes/shoes being more troublesome for girls. itch and sleep disturbance seem to be a problem mainly in younger children.