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Comparison of the Psychological Impacts of Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Cutaneous Diseases:Vitiligo and Atopic Dermatitis

 Seongmin Noh ; Miri Kim ; Sang Ho Oh ; Seung-Kyung Hann ; Chang Ook Park 
 Annals of Dermatology, Vol.25(4) : 454~461, 2013 
Journal Title
 Annals of Dermatology 
Issue Date
BACKGROUND: Vitiligo and atopic dermatitis (AD) are common dermatological disorders which may cause significant psychological and social distress leading to impaired quality of life (QoL) in patients. OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the degree of psychological stress and impairment of QoL in vitiligo patients as compared with AD patients and normal controls (NCs). METHODS: A total of 60 patients from each group and 60 NCs were enrolled. Five questionnaires on depression (Beck depression inventory, BDI), state anxiety (SA) and trait anxiety (TA), interaction anxiousness (IAS), private body consciousness (PBC) and dermatologic QoL were used. RESULTS: The vitiligo patients had a significantly higher level of TA (p<0.01), PBC (p<0.001) and impaired QoL (p<0.001) than NCs, but not BDI, SA and IAS. The AD patients had significantly higher scores for all five questionnaire items compared with NCs. In the comparison between the AD and vitiligo groups, all of the indexes except body consciousness were higher in AD patients than in vitiligo patients: BDI (p<0.01), SA (p<0.05), TA (p<0.001), IAS (p<0.01) and impaired QoL (p<0.001). Exposure of vitiligo lesions was not a significant variable in the analysis of the contribution of clinical variables of vitiligo on psychological stress and QoL. CONCLUSION: Vitiligo, which is not accompanied by any symptoms, involves less psychological impact than AD, which is accompanied by itching. Compared to NCs, however, the elevated general anxiety and body consciousness in patients with vitiligo suggests that they may be more concerned with the aggravation of hypopigmented patches than difficulties in social interactions.
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