Background: The psychosocial impact of skin conditions is usually evaluated in research settings. Objectives: To define predictors that can be used by dermatologists to refer patients for psychological consultation or psychotherapy using a simple screening instrument. Materials & Methods: A questionnaire to evaluate possible anxiety and depression (12-item General Health Questionnaire [GHQ-12]) was routinely used over a period of two months in an Italian dermatological reference centre. Results: Of 651 patients, 508 (78%) completed the GHQ-12. Of the total sample, 35.2% scored 4 or more (psychological consultation suggested), and 15.7% scored 7 or more (psychological consultation recommended). Probable depression or anxiety was more frequent in women than in men, in patients born in foreign countries, and in patients with leg ulcers, pemphigoid, and psoriasis. Conclusion: Our results indicate that a simple instrument may be useful for dermatologists to detect patients at risk of psychological problems and subsequently refer them for psychological consultation.
- daily practice
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