Does Stress Increase the Risk of Atopic Dermatitis in Adolescents? Results of the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-Based Survey (KYRBWS-VI)

Jeoung A. Kwon, Eun Cheol Park, Minjee Lee, Ki Bong Yoo, Sohee Park

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14 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the relationship between level of stress in middle and high school students aged 12-18 and risk of atopic dermatitis. Data from the Sixth Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey (KYRBWS-VI), a cross-sectional study among 74,980 students in 800 middle schools and high schools with a response rate of 97.7%, were analyzed. Ordinal logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the relationship between stress and atopic dermatitis with severity. A total of 5,550 boys and 6,964 girls reported having been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. Younger students were more likely to have atopic dermatitis. Interestingly, the educational level of parents was found to be associated with having atopic dermatitis and having more severe condition. In particular, girls with mothers with at least college education had a 41% higher risk of having atopic dermatitis and severe atopic condition (odds ratio (OR)) = 1.41, 95% CI, 1.22-1.63; P<0.0001) compared with those with mothers who had attended middle school at most. Similar trend was shown among both boys and girls for their father's education level. The stress level was found to be significantly associated with the risk of atopic dermatitis. Compared to boys with who reported "no stress", boys with "very high" stress had 46% higher the risk of having more severe atopic dermatitis (OR = 1.46, 95% CI, 1.20-1.78; P<0.0001), 44% higher (OR = 1.44, 95% CI, 1.19-1.73; P<0.0001) with "high" stress, and 21% higher (OR = 1.21, 95% CI, 1.00-1.45; P = 0.05) with "moderate" stress. In contrast, we found no statistically significant relationship between stress and atopic dermatitis in girls. This study suggests that stress and parents' education level were associated with atopic dermatitis. Specifically, degree of stress is positively correlated with likelihood of being diagnosed with this condition and increasing the severity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere67890
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug 5

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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