BACKGROUND: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is characterized by pruritic and eczematous skin lesions, which often cause depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress, sleep disturbances, social withdrawal, and stigmatization. METHODS: In total, 23,442 subjects (434 AD patients and 23,008 control subjects) aged 19 years or older and without a history of major medical illness or depressive disorders were selected from The Fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2012. Following the initial selection, 2,170 age- and sex-matched control subjects were selected using 1:5 propensity score matching. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the presence of depressive symptoms of at least 2 weeks in duration. RESULTS: The demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical characteristics of AD patients and control subjects were presented and compared, and some variables differed significantly between groups. Presence of depressive symptoms was set as dependent variable, and multiple logistic regression analysis was performed as follows: (1) unadjusted; (2) with alcohol use, exercise status, smoking status, and body mass index (BMI) adjusted for; and (3) with alcohol use, exercise status, smoking status, marital status, occupation, BMI, total caloric intake, history of hypertension, and history of diabetes mellitus adjusted for. Depressive symptoms were significantly higher (odds ratios, 1.46, 1.40, and 1.36; 95% confidence intervals, 1.09-1.95, 1.0.4-1.88, and 1.01-1.85, respectively) in AD patients relative to those of matched controls. CONCLUSION: AD and clinical depression interact closely, and causal relationships between the two conditions have frequently been observed. Physicians should consider mental health interventions cautiously. It is particularly important that primary care physicians provide comprehensive, continuous long-term care.