Predicting long-term outcome in group treatment of atopic dermatitis.
Stangier U., Ehlers A., Gieler U.
BACKGROUND: Psychological group treatments are effective adjuncts to dermatological treatments in improving dermatological symptoms and quality of life. However, no data are available on variables that may predict which patients benefit from such group treatments. METHODS: On the basis of data from the Marburg group treatment study, we explored which variables are associated with successful treatment. Treatment outcome was defined by a marked reduction of dermatological symptoms at 1-year follow-up. RESULTS: Regardless of the treatment condition, a high pretreatment level of scratching, a low serum IgE level, low scores on the internal Health Locus of Control Scale and a high frequency of coping-related cognitions regarding itching predicted good outcome at 1 year. Logistic regression analyses indicated that the predictive power of locus of control and itch-related cognitions differed between different treatment conditions. CONCLUSION: In patients with atopic dermatitis, indication for psychological treatment may be based on the assessment of psychological target problems including excessive scratching and dysfunctional cognitions.