Racial Differences in Perceptions of Psoriasis Therapies: Implications for Racial Disparities in Psoriasis Treatment

J Invest Dermatol. 2019 Aug;139(8):1672-1679.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2018.12.032. Epub 2019 Feb 6.


In the United States, black patients are less likely than white patients to receive biologic treatment for their psoriasis. We conducted a qualitative free-listing study to identify patient-generated factors that may explain this apparent racial disparity in psoriasis treatment by comparing the perceptions of biologics and other psoriasis therapies between white and black adults with psoriasis. Participants included 68 white and black adults with moderate to severe psoriasis who had and had not received biologic treatment. Each participant was asked to list words in response to verbal probes querying five psoriasis treatments: self-injectable biologics, infliximab, methotrexate, apremilast, and phototherapy. Salience scores indicating the relative importance of each word were calculated, and salient words were compared across each race/treatment group. Participants who had experience with biologics generally associated positive words with self-injectable biologics. Among biologic-naïve participants, "apprehension," "side effects," and "immune suppression" were most salient. "Unfamiliar" and "dislike needles" were salient only among black participants who were biologic naïve. Participants were generally unfamiliar with the other psoriasis therapies except phototherapy. Unfamiliarity with biologics, particularly among black, biologic-naïve patients, may partly explain the existing racial disparity in biologic treatment for psoriasis and might stem from lack of exposure to or poor understanding of biologics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biological Products / administration & dosage*
  • Biological Products / adverse effects
  • Continental Population Groups / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice / ethnology*
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Injections / instrumentation
  • Injections / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needles
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Phototherapy / adverse effects
  • Phototherapy / psychology*
  • Psoriasis / ethnology
  • Psoriasis / psychology
  • Psoriasis / therapy*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Administration / psychology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States


  • Biological Products