Background: Patients' beliefs about their disease have been shown to be of fundamental importance in adjustment to their condition.
Objective: We investigated patients' beliefs about their psoriasis and examined the relationship between these beliefs and clinical severity, symptom report, and other clinical and demographic variables.
Methods: A total of 162 patients with psoriasis (84 male, 78 female) completed the illness perception questionnaire that provides a standardized assessment of beliefs about causes, consequences, chronicity or recurrence, controllability, and symptoms of the condition.
Results: The most commonly reported agents of causation were stress (60.1%) and genetic factors (55.5%)--the latter group being significantly more likely to have a family history of psoriasis (P=.0001). Forty-six percent of patients believed that their behavior could improve or worsen their psoriasis, whereas 32% believed that treatment would be curative. Desquamation and pruritus were experienced "frequently" or "all the time" by 80% and 76% of patients respectively. Overall clinical severity was not associated with any of the beliefs held by patients or with symptom report.
Conclusion: The beliefs held and symptoms experienced by patients with psoriasis are not governed by overall clinical severity of the disease.