Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.
October 19, 2021
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Pediatric atopic dermatitis associated with chronic school absenteeism

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Children with atopic dermatitis, but not those with psoriasis, were likely to be absent from school at least 15 days a year due to their condition, according to a study.

“The impact of childhood atopic dermatitis and psoriasis on school absenteeism is not fully elucidated,” Brian T. Cheng, BA, of the department of allergy and immunology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues wrote.

Children with atopic dermatitis, but not those with psoriasis, were likely to be absent from school at least 15 days a year due to their condition.

The researchers culled data from the 1999-2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys. Eligibility criteria included cross-sectional, population-based studies of health status and function in the U.S. The outcomes of interest were the burden and predictors of chronic school absenteeism among pediatric patients with either AD or psoriasis.

The analysis yielded findings for 3,132 children with AD and 200 with psoriasis.

Results showed that 67.7% of children with AD and 62.5% of those with psoriasis missed 1 or more days of school due to illness. In addition, 3.9% of children in the AD group and 3.6% of those in the psoriasis group missed 15 or more days due to their condition. The researchers defined this level of absenteeism as “chronic.”

Regression analysis findings showed an association between AD and chronic absenteeism (adjusted OR = 1.42; 95% CI, 1.13-1.78). This association increased as disease severity increased, with children with mild or moderate AD (aOR = 1.33; 95% CI, 1.04-1.7) having a lower rate of chronic absenteeism than those with severe AD (aOR = 2; 95% CI, 1.21-3.32).

The researchers failed to observe a statistical difference in chronic absenteeism in children with psoriasis compared to those without (aOR = 1.26; 95% CI, 0.51-3.12).

Data for trends over time showed that the overall number of days missed decreased both among children with AD (P < .0001) and psoriasis (P < .0001) over the course of the years studied. However, rates of chronic absenteeism remained consistent for both AD and psoriasis.

Other findings showed that while parents of children with AD were more likely to miss work due to responsibilities in caring for their children, no such trend was reported among parents of children with psoriasis.

“Chronic absenteeism may have significant long-term effects on children’s development and academic trajectory,” the researchers concluded.