Impact of atopic dermatitis on quality of life in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Gurkiran Birdi*, Richard Cooke, Rebecca C Knibb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Atopic dermatitis (AD) can affect quality of life (QoL) of adult patients in whom the condition can be severe and persistent. There are currently no systematic reviews of the impact of AD on adults. This paper provides the first systematic literature review and meta-analysis of the impact of AD on QoL in adults. A systematic search was conducted using MEDLINE, Scopus, and Web of Science for articles published until October 2018. Inclusion criteria were a clinical diagnosis of AD, adult patients, and QoL as an outcome measure. Interventions were excluded. A total of 32 studies were included. While QoL was assessed using Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) in 25 studies, there was heterogeneity in the tools used to measure disease severity across studies. Meta-analysis of the seven studies that used the SCORAD to measure disease severity showed severity to be significantly related to poorer QoL. The remaining 18 studies also showed increased disease severity significantly related to poorer QoL. When compared to healthy controls, AD patients demonstrated significantly lower QoL, but findings were mixed in studies that compared QoL in AD to other skin conditions. The findings highlight the significant impact that AD has on QoL in adults and the need for validated and relevant QoL measures to be implemented in clinical assessments for AD. Areas that require further research include an exploration of gender differences in QoL and the use of longitudinal study designs to explore factors that may cause differences in QoL ratings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e75-e91
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number4
Early online date13 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Birdi, G., Cooke, R. and Knibb, R.C. (2020), Impact of atopic dermatitis on quality of life in adults: a systematic review and meta‐analysis. Int J Dermatol, 59: e75-e91, which has been published in final form at  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.


  • Dermatitis, Atopic/complications
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of atopic dermatitis on quality of life in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this