Psychophysiological Effects of Stress Management in Patients with Atopic Dermatitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Christina Schut, Ulrike Weik, Natalia Tews, Uwe Gieler, Renate Deinzer, Jörg Kupfer
Atopic dermatitis leads to, and can be triggered by, stress. Psychological interventions have been shown to have positive effects on skin status, itch and scratching behaviour. However, it has not been analysed whether stress management leads to a change in physiological stress level and psychophysiological stress reaction under acute stress in this patient group. In this study 28 patients with atopic dermatitis were randomized to an experimental group (cognitive behavioural stress management) or a control group. The endocrine stress level and skin status were measured before and after the stress management programme. A public-speaking paradigm was used to induce acute stress. The study revealed that the experimental group had a tentatively reduced cortisol awakening response after the stress management programme. In addition, the experimental group remained calmer and showed lower salivary cortisol levels under acute stress. Thus, stress management might be a useful addition to standard treatment in patients with atopic dermatitis.