Although atopic dermatitis (AD) in infancy was not associated with later behavioral problems, at 6.5 years old, children who experienced asthma or AD symptoms within the previous year were at increased risk for concomitant emotional problems or concomitant emotional problems and hyperactivity/inattention, respectively, according to a report published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy.

Allergic diseases such as AD and asthma are thought to be associated with behavioral problems such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, but research has offered mixed evidence and conflicting findings. Investigators sought to characterize and quantify these relationships, hypothesizing that behavioral problems at 6.5 years of age would correlate with AD and asthma symptoms at the same age, as well as with AD during infancy.

During the initial year of life, participants were followed at 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, and diagnoses of AD were documented. At 6.5 years, all patients were examined and given skin prick tests (SPTs) for 5 common allergens, and patients/parents reported AD and asthma symptoms occurring during the previous year, using the International Study for Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire. At the same time, parents and/or teachers filled out the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), which assesses behavioral issues using subscales on emotional problems, hyperactivity/inattention, peer problems, conduct problems, and prosocial behaviors. Logistic regression with multiple adjustments was performed.