Body image in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

Int J Behav Med. 2012 Jun;19(2):157-64. doi: 10.1007/s12529-011-9154-9.


Background: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a multisystemic disease of young women may be disfiguring and affect physical and emotional health. Body image literature in SLE is scant and controversial.

Purpose: We compared body image-related quality of life in subjects with (n = 87) and without (n = 78) SLE and determined its correlates using the body image quality of life inventory (BIQLI).

Method: The tool was self-administered to consenting individuals. Demographic information along with disease activity and damage assessments for SLE patients were obtained. T test, chi square test, correlational, and regression analyses were used to make comparisons.

Results: Mean age (±SD) were 42.4 ± 13.1 and 38.7 ± 13.2 years for SLE and non-SLE subjects, respectively. Mean (±SD) BIQLI scores were significantly worse in SLE than non-SLE subjects: 19.9 ± 33.2 and 41.6 ± 24.8 (p = 0.001). In SLE, BIQLI scores correlated inversely with overall damage, irreversible cutaneous damage, alopecia, and self-reported depression, and directly with age and health status.

Conclusion: Body image in SLE is poor, and effective interventions may be directed at cutaneous disease activity, damage, and depression.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Image*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / psychology*
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Reference Values
  • Self Concept
  • Self-Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index