Are there indications of “sensory processing sensitivity” (SPS) in atopically predisposed persons? – An examination of parents of children with atopic dermatitis in inpatient treatment
Clinically, the parents of children with atopic dermatitis often give the impression of increased sensitivity. It was examined, whether the parents show characteristics of “Sensory Processing Sensitivity" (SPS) such as extraordinary perception and processing, hypersensitivity to external stimuli, increased excitability and excessive demands.
64 parents of children with atopic dermatitis were therefore examined with the Highly Sensitive Person Scale (Aron 1996) and three proven questionnaires. Parents with atopic disposition and children with atopic dermatitis (n= 44) were compared with non-atopic parents (n=20). In addition, atopic parents of slightly ill children (n = 24) and atopic parents of severely ill children (n = 20) were compared with non-atopic parents of children with atopic dermatitis (n=20).
The comparison of 44 parents with atopic disposition with 20 non-atopic parents showed a significantly higher sensitivity, excitability, a stronger propensity for esoteric thinking and a reduced frustration tolerance in the parents with atopic disposition. They showed significant differences in three other characteristics: the mood was more depressed, life satisfaction was lower and stress increased. There were no significant differences between atopically predisposed parents of slightly ill children and atopically predisposed parents of seriously ill children.
Conclusions: Atopically predisposed parents of children with atopic dermatitis show properties according to the construct of "sensory processing sensitivity" (SPS). The influence of these properties on children with atopic dermatitis, in particular the increased responsiveness (Aron and Aron 1997, Boterberg and Warreyn 2016), should be investigated in further studies.
Atopic dermatitis - parents with atopic disposition - Sensory processing sensitivity - SPS