What patients with psoriasis believe about their condition

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998 Aug;39(2 Pt 1):196-201. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(98)70074-x.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Culture
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / epidemiology
  • Psoriasis / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Perception
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires