Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology vol:60 issue:3 pages:388-393
BACKGROUND: Whether adult alopecia areata (AA) is associated with childhood or total lifetime traumatic events is not known. Previous studies have investigated only the relationship with recent stressful events. OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether patients with AA experience more childhood or total lifetime traumatic events, as measured by the Traumatic Experiences Checklist. METHODS: Using a case-control study, data on 90 patients with AA and 91 control subjects were analyzed. RESULTS: Significantly more patients with AA experienced total lifetime and early childhood traumatic events, with an odds ratio of 2.46 (95% confidence interval 1.15-5.28; P = .017) and 2.16 (1.15-4.06; P = .016), respectively. In patients with AA, the global impact score related to their traumatic experiences was significantly higher than in control subjects (P < .001). In addition, patients with AA experienced significantly more emotionally and physically traumatic events. LIMITATION: This case-control study is susceptible to recall bias and to confounding factors associated with stress caused by AA outbreaks or by a traumatic childhood history. CONCLUSION: Our study documents an increased history of childhood trauma in patients with AA compared with control subjects.