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Paediatric eczema and psychosocial morbidity: how does eczema interact with parents’ illness beliefs?


*Corresponding author, Department of Mental Health Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Rowland Hill Street, London, NW3 2PF, UK, tel. +44 (0) 208 472 6830; fax +44 (0) 207 830 2808; E-mail:


Background  Thus far there has been relatively little work on children's illness representations regarding eczema and how these relate to parental conceptualizations of their child's psychosocial health. This is important because the challenge of raising a child with a serious illness can affect many facets of a parent's everyday life and the behaviour of parents can be closely related to the health of the child.

Methods  Two hundred and thirty-two children with eczema, asthma, eczema and asthma, and healthy controls between 7 and 12 years of age and their parents were recruited. Children were administered the Children's Illness Perception Questionnaire. Questionnaires completed by the parents were The Personality Inventory for Children and The Parental Stress Inventory.

Results  Parents of children with eczema did not judge their children to have poorer psychosocial health than controls, but parents of children with eczema could not be distinguished between in terms of whether their child was significantly affected by their eczema or not.

Conclusions  This work could have important implications for the quality of life of the child and for the parent–child relationship and these implications are considered.