Psoriasis Comes with Social Support, Self-Esteem Issues

Article excerpt

TORONTO -- Consider asking young women with psoriasis about self-esteem and their social support to ensure an optimal quality of life, Renita Ahluwalia said at the annual conference of the Canadian Dermatology Association.

"We need to address social support and self-esteem at the first visit," she said. "Whether the psoriasis is bad or mild, if it's affecting their quality of life and they are unhappy, treatment needs to be tailored to their needs."

Physicians should address emotional and informational support in particular, said Ms. Ahluwalia, based on findings of a three-part survey of 22 young women with psoriasis and two one-on-one qualitative interviews. Although these components were most commonly lacking, positive social interaction "could use some improvement" as well, she said.

"Physicians can intervene on these areas," added Ms. Ahluwalia, a medical student at the University of Toronto.

The survey included the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) questionnaire, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and an adapted Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Social Support Survey.

A mean score of 80 on the social support measure "doesn't seem like a low scale, but some areas were lacking," Ms. Ahluwalia said, noting that the mean score of 23 on the Rosenberg scale "is considered quite low."

Although the DLQI is useful, "we have to be careful when using it that self-esteem is not overlooked. …