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Abstract

Background

The notion of individual burden, associated with a disease, has been introduced to determine the ‘disability’ in the broadest sense (psychological, social, economic and physical). Atopic dermatitis (AD) is one of the most common chronic inflammatory skin diseases with an estimated prevalence of 5%–30% in children.

Objective

To develop and validate a specific questionnaire which assess the burden of families of children with AD: the Atopic dermatitis Burden Scale (ABS).

Methods

Items for inclusion in ABS were initially generated from a literature review and a verbatim report from parents whose child had AD. ABS was refined via item reduction according to interquestion correlations, consensus among experts and exploratory factor analysis. Internal consistency was determined by calculating the Cronbach's α, concurrent validity by calculating the correlation between ABS and the Short-Form 12 items. Discriminant validity was analysed according to the severity degrees of AD assessed by Patient-Oriented SCORing index of Atopic Dermatitis (PO-SCORAD).

Results

From an initial list of 29 items, ABS was reduced to a 14-item questionnaire, grouped into four dimensions based on the exploratory factor analysis. Construct validity was demonstrated and ABS showed good internal coherence (Cronbach's α: 0.78). ABS was significantly correlated to the mental dimension of Short-Form 12 (r = −0.49), but it was not correlated to the physical dimension (r = 0.04). ABS scores were significantly different according to the severity degrees of AD, with higher ABS score in parents whose child had severe AD.

Conclusion

The ABS questionnaire is a validated tool for assessing the burden of families of children with AD. An implementation of a prospective study is planned to estimate sensitivity to change and to confirm its domain structure in larger samples.