Background: Psoriasis has a strong impact on quality of life and is correlated to psychopathological states. It is important to investigate the effect of clinical changes on psychological status. Objectives: To analyse the extent of clinical change and its effect on the presence of psychiatric morbidity in a group of patients with psoriasis. Methods: All eligible adults hospitalized with psoriasis in a dermatological hospital (February 2000-February 2002) were given the self-administered Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (SAPASI) to assess clinical severity, the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) to detect patients with psychological problems (defined as 'cases') and the Skindex-29 to evaluate symptoms. The same questionnaires were completed by the patients a month after hospital discharge. Results: In our population of 414 patients, the incidence of GHQ cases becoming noncases was correlated with the SAPASI percentage improvement, ranging from 17.6% in patients with SAPASI worsened or unchanged at follow-up, to 68.2% in patients with clearance of psoriasis. Also, the proportion of patients who became GHQ noncases was much higher in patients with improvement of ≥ 50% in symptoms, compared with patients with no improvement or worsening (70% vs. 32%, respectively). In a multivariate model the possible determinants of the passage from GHQ case to noncase were: SAPASI improvement, symptom improvement, no localization on the face, and gender (i.e. women were less likely to improve psychologically). Conclusions: The improvement in clinical severity and symptoms was associated with a decreased frequency of psychiatric disturbance. However, dermatologists should be aware that even in the presence of vast clinical improvement patients may still substantially suffer psychologically.
- Quality of life
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