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Psychophysiological Reactivity under Mental Stress in Atopic Dermatitis

Seiffert, Kristina ; Hilbert, Edwin ; Schaechinger, Hartmut ; Zouboulis, Christos C ; Deter, Hans-Christian

Dermatology, May 2005, Vol.210(4), pp.286-293 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Psychophysiological Reactivity under Mental Stress in Atopic Dermatitis
  • Author/Creator: Seiffert, Kristina ; Hilbert, Edwin ; Schaechinger, Hartmut ; Zouboulis, Christos C ; Deter, Hans-Christian
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: Clinical and Laboratory Investigations ; Psychophysiology ; Stress ; Atopic Dermatitis ; Parasympathetic Activity ; Sympathetic Activity ; Medicine
  • Is Part Of: Dermatology, May 2005, Vol.210(4), pp.286-293
  • Description: Background: An association of mental stress with atopic dermatitis is widely accepted. However, no long-term evaluation of psychophysiological reactivity over the course of disease has yet been performed. Objective: We examined whether atopic dermatitis patients have an increased psychophysiological reactivity compared to healthy controls and in between acute and disease-free phases, and whether they differ in psychological state and trait variables. Methods: Fifteen patients with atopic dermatitis underwent a stress test during acute exacerbation and after symptom improvement and were compared to matched controls. Results: Psychophysiological responsesto stress were not stronger in the patient group than in the controls. Nevertheless, the patients had a higher heart rate and lower vagal activity throughout the resting and stress phases at both examination times. The patients showed significantly higher anxiety, depression and emotional excitability, and self-ratings of inactivity clearly distinguished acute phases from remission. Conclusion: There is an increased vegetative excitability level in patients with atopic dermatitis, which cannot be attributed solely to increased disease activity.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 1018-8665 ; E-ISSN: 1421-9832 ; DOI: 10.1159/000084752