Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

Post-Partum Depression Linked to Atopic Dermatitis – Eczema – in Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Jonathan Silverberg

Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH
Director of Clinical Research and Contact Dermatitis
Associate Professor of Dermatology
George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Washington, DC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We previously found that children from single parent families, and unsafe or unsupportive neighborhoods are more likely to have atopic dermatitis. Parents in these settings may experience greater psychosocial distress and higher rates of depression in the post-partum period and beyond.

As such, we sought to understand the relationship of maternal depression with atopic dermatitis in their children.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Did the mothers also have any of the atopic triad (asthma, hayfever, eczema)?

Response: Postpartum depression was associated with higher prevalence of childhood atopic dermatitis overall, and particularly at ages 5 and 9 years. Children who were born to mothers with post-partum depression also had more persistent atopic dermatitis. Interestingly, children whose mothers experienced depression in the past year were also more likely to have persistent atopic dermatitis at older ages. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: The results suggest that maternal depression in the post-partum period and beyond might increase the risk of their children developing atopic dermatitis. It is possible that interventions aimed at preventing and/or treating post-partum depression and maternal depression in general may help prevent or control their child’s atopic dermatitis. In addition, parents and pediatric providers should be aware that maternal depression may contribute to and/or be an indicator of excess risk for atopic dermatitis in children.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Future confirmatory studies are warranted. If the results are indeed reproducible, additional studies would be needed to determine whether early prevention and/or treatment of maternal depression can truly mitigate childhood atopic dermatitis.

No relevant disclosures


Costner McKenzie, Jonathan I. Silverberg. Maternal Depression and Atopic Dermatitis in American Children and Adolescents. Dermatitis, 2020; 31 (1): 75 DOI: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000548 


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Last Updated on January 21, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD