The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between three major allergic diseases, asthma, allergic rhinitis (AR), and atopic dermatitis (AD), and psychological and behavioural problems in preschoolers based on a community survey.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a modified International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire to determine the prevalence of symptoms and diagnosed allergic diseases, and a Korean version of the Child Behaviour Checklist to assess internalizing, externalizing, and sleep problems among 780 preschoolers. Five-hundred and seventy-five preschoolers with valid data were included in this study.
The prevalence of lifetime diagnosis and treatment in the past 12 months was 8.7% and 4.4% for asthma, 24.4% and 19.2% for AR, and 35.1% and 16.6% for AD, respectively. Scores for internalizing and sleep problems were significantly higher in those diagnosed with AR. Preschoolers who had been treated for AD in the past 12 months had higher attention problem and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder scores. Sleep problems were more severe in moderate to severe AD compared to control and mild AD groups, categorised according to SCOring index of AD. The severity of sleep problems correlated positively with the percentage of eosinophils in peripheral blood.
Psychological and behavioural problems differed among the three major allergic diseases, weaker association for asthma and stronger association for AR and AD. The results of this study may lead to the identification of potential underlying shared mechanisms common to allergic diseases and psychological and behavioural problems.
Keywords: Preschool child; psychometrics; asthma; allergic rhinitis; atopic dermatitis