Childhood and Adulthood Traumatic Experiences in Patients With Psoriasis

J Dermatol. 2010 Sep;37(9):793-800. doi: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.2010.00870.x.


It is well known that several psychiatric disorders may be related to childhood psychological trauma. Recent studies have associated childhood exposure to trauma to some skin diseases. Our study aimed at exploring whether psoriasis is related to the reported positive and negative traumatic life events in different age intervals beginning from early childhood to adulthood. Furthermore, we investigated differences between psoriatics with early and late onset according to traumatic experiences in different age intervals. Also, we investigated the possible correlation of traumatic experiences with the disease severity. One hundred patients with psoriasis and 101 controls (patients with skin conditions considered to be "non-psychosomatic") were enrolled in the study. All participants completed a specific questionnaire measuring traumatic life experiences (Traumatic Antecedents Questionnaire, TAQ). The TAQ assesses positive personal experiences (competence and safety) and negative personal experiences (neglect, separation, secrets, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, trauma witnessing, other traumas and exposure to alcohol/drugs) from early childhood to adulthood. The severity of psoriasis was estimated according to the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI), a standardized measuring instrument. The amount of positive experiences did not differ significantly among groups, except for safety scores that were higher in controls compared with both psoriatic groups (early and late onset). On the other side, negative traumatic experiences appeared more frequently in patients with psoriasis during all developmental periods. We found no correlation between severity of psoriasis and traumatic experiences. The present study demonstrates an increased history of childhood and adulthood negative traumatic experiences in patients with psoriasis compared to the control group. Our findings suggest a relationship between retrospectively reported negative traumatic experiences and psoriasis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / epidemiology*
  • Psoriasis / etiology*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult