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Partner bereavement and risk of psoriasis and atopic eczema: cohort studies in the U.K. and Denmark

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DOI

  • A. Y.S. Wong, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • ,
  • T. Frøslev
  • H. J. Forbes, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Health Data Research UK
  • ,
  • A. Kjærsgaard
  • A. Mulick, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • ,
  • K. Mansfield, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • ,
  • R. J. Silverwood, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London
  • ,
  • H. T. Sørensen
  • L. Smeeth, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Health Data Research UK
  • ,
  • S. A.J. Schmidt
  • S. M. Langan, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Health Data Research UK

Background: Stress is commonly cited as a risk factor for psoriasis and atopic eczema, but such evidence is limited. Objectives: To investigate the association between partner bereavement (an extreme life stressor) and psoriasis or atopic eczema. Methods: We conducted cohort studies using data from the U.K. Clinical Practice Research Datalink (1997–2017) and Danish nationwide registries (1997–2016). The exposed cohort was partners who experienced partner bereavement. The comparison cohort was up to 10 nonbereaved partners, matched to each bereaved partner by age, sex, county of residence (Denmark) and general practice (U.K.). Outcomes were the first recorded diagnosis of psoriasis or atopic eczema. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) and confidence intervals (CIs) using a stratified Cox proportional hazards model in both settings, which were then pooled in a meta-analysis. Results: The pooled adjusted HR for the association between bereavement and psoriasis was 1·01 (95% CI 0·98–1·04) across the entire follow-up. Similar results were found in other shorter follow-up periods. Pooled adjusted HRs for the association between bereavement and atopic eczema were 0·97 (95% CI 0·84–1·12) across the entire follow-up, 1·09 (95% CI 0·86–1·38) within 0–30 days, 1·18 (95% CI 1·04–1·35) within 0–90 days, 1·14 (95% CI 1·06–1·22) within 0–365 days and 1·07 (95% CI 1·02–1·12) within 0–1095 days. Conclusions: We found a modest increase in the risk of atopic eczema within 3 years following bereavement, which peaked in the first 3 months. Acute stress may play a role in triggering onset of new atopic eczema or relapse of atopic eczema previously in remission. We observed no evidence for increased long-term risk of psoriasis and atopic eczema following bereavement.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Volume183
Issue2
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
ISSN0007-0963
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

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