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Epidemiology and Health 2018;e2018059.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2018059    [Accepted] Published online November 29, 2018.
Estimating causal associations of atopic dermatitis with depression using the propensity score method - analyzing Korea Community Health Survey(KCHS) data, 2010-2013
Hayon Michelle Choi  , Dahye Kim  , Whanhee Lee  , Ho Kim 
Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence  Ho Kim ,Tel: 02-880-2711, Fax: 02-762-2888, Email: hokim@snu.ac.kr
Received: September 18, 2018  Accepted after revision: November 29, 2018
The association between atopic dermatitis and depression has been indicated by numerous studies, yet the causal relationship between the two diseases is not shown. Therefore, this study used the propensity score method to investigate whether there is a positive causal effect of atopic dermatitis on depression for 16 regions(si/do) in South Korea.
The study analyzed 16 regions(si/do) in Korea, which was obtained from Korea Community Health Survey for the years 2010-2013. The matching method among the propensity score method was used to estimate the causality of atopic dermatitis on depression in Korea.
After propensity score matching, the standardized difference for each covariate among 16 regions(si/do) had value less than 1, indicating a balance. At the national level, those diagnosed with atopic dermatitis had 2.31 times higher risk in getting depression diagnosis than others who did not get diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. Especially the risks were highest in Jeollabukdo(odds ratio; OR(95% confidence interval; CI)=4.87 (2.28-10.43)), lowest in Gwangju(OR(95% CI)=1.82(0.87-3.79)), and risk in Seoul was OR(95% CI)=2.23(1.66-2.99).
This study provides an insight in causal inference with observational studies, specifically using Korea Community Health Survey data. Furthermore, the study results address region-specific guidelines for depression prevention health policies considering atopic dermatitis by region.
Keywords: atopic dermatitis; depression; causal inference; propensity score method; Korea Community Health Survey
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