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.