Stress and alopecia areata: a psychodermatologic study

Acta Derm Venereol. 1997 Jul;77(4):296-8. doi: 10.2340/0001555577296298.


Psychosocial stress has been reported to play a role in the onset and/or exacerbation of alopecia areata. Little is known about the clinical characteristics of alopecia areata patients whose alopecia is stress-reactive. We examined the relation between the stress reactivity of alopecia areata and a wide range of psychosocial measures among 16 patients with alopecia areata/totalis and 28 patients with alopecia universalis. The degree to which the alopecia was exacerbated by stress was measured by patient ratings on a 10-point scale. A wide range of psychologic measures correlated (p<0.05) with the stress reactivity score. Stepwise logistic regression analysis revealed that patients with higher depression scores were more likely to be in the high-stress reactor group. Patients whose alopecia is stress-reactive may suffer from depressive illness, a potentially important consideration in the overall management of such patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alopecia Areata / etiology
  • Alopecia Areata / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*