A sub-population of people with psoriasis have strong causal beliefs about stress, high levels of emotional distress (anxiety and depression) and an impaired quality of life (QoL). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has been found to reduce levels of stress and distress and to improve QoL. This pilot study in people with psoriasis aimed to test the hypothesis that mindfulness could reduce stress and thereby lessen psoriasis severity, improve QoL and reduce distress. Twenty-nine people with psoriasis (22-70-years old; 16 females; 13 males) were randomised to an eight-week mindfulness treatment as an adjunct to their usual psoriasis therapy or to a control group which continued with usual psoriasis therapy alone. All subjects completed self-reported measurements of psoriasis severity, perceived stress, distress and QoL, at baseline and again post-intervention. The mindfulness group reported statistically lower psoriasis severity (Self-Assessed Psoriasis Area Severity Index; z = 1.96, p = .05) and QoL impairment scores (Dermatology Life Quality Index; z = 2.30, p = .02) than the control group. There was no significant difference between groups on perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale; z = .07, p = .94) or distress scores (Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale; z = 1.60, p = .11). People with psoriasis who received mindfulness as an adjunct to their usual therapy reported a significant improvement in both psoriasis severity and QoL. These pilot results suggest that a full randomised control trial is justified to examine the effectiveness of mindfulness as an adjunctive treatment for people with psoriasis.
Keywords: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy; psoriasis; stress.