Dr. Katrina Abuabara

Sleep Disturbances Common in Mothers of Children with Atopic Dermatitis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Katrina Abuabara

Dr. Abuabara

Dr. Katrina Abuabara, MD, MA, MSCE
Department of Dermatology Program for Clinical Research, University of California, San Francisco

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

Response: The wellbeing and development of children is strongly influenced by parents’ physical and psychosocial health. Parents of children with chronic illness, in particular, are susceptible to poor sleep, and previous studies have found major sleep impairments among parents of children with ventilator dependency and cystic fibrosis, but few studies have examined sleep patterns among parents of children with more common chronic illnesses like atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema).

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that sleep disturbances were common among mothers of children with atopic dermatitis followed from birth through age 11. Mother’s reported impaired sleep quality, subjectively insufficient sleep, and increased daytime exhaustion. For all measures, worse child AD severity correlated with worse maternal sleep outcomes, but child sleep disturbances did not fully explain maternal sleep disturbances.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Caring for a child with atopic dermatitis has a significant impact on maternal sleep and wellbeing

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

Response: Although impaired parental sleep in AD is thought to be related to the child’s nighttime awakenings, child sleep disturbances did not fully explain maternal sleep disturbances, and future research should investigate other mechanisms.

Additionally, we were only able to look at maternal sleep in this study. It is important to consider the impact of chronic childhood conditions on other caretakers and siblings.

Finally, additional research is needed to understand how interventions targeted at both child atopic dermatitis and maternal wellness can improve the entire family’s sleep.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: I don’t think it’s relevant to your article, but to be transparent, my only financial disclosure is that I serve on the scientific advisory board of a company (TARGET Pharma) developing a large atopic dermatitis disease registry.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Ramirez FD, Chen S, Langan SM, et al. Assessment of Sleep Disturbances and Exhaustion in Mothers of Children With Atopic Dermatitis. JAMA Dermatol. Published online March 20, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.5641


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