Content » Vol 88, Issue 6

Investigative Report

Comparison of Self-reported Skin Complaints with Objective Skin Signs Among Adolescents

Jon Anders Halvorsen, Anne Braae Olesen, Magne Thoresen, Jan-Øyvind Holm, Espen Bjertness, Florence Dalgard
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-0505


Adolescents' skin problems can be studied at the population level. The aim of this study was to validate five questions on skin complaints for use in population surveys among adolescents. Of the 260 adolescents aged 18–20 years invited to participate, 217 were included in the study. The prevalence of the adolescents' self-reported complaints were higher than those found during clinical examination by a dermatologist. The overall agreement between the adolescents' answers and recorded clinical signs was: 74% (pimples/signs of acne), 40% (dry skin/xerosis), 81% (rash/signs of dermatitis) and 83% (other skin complaints/other skin findings). No corresponding objective skin sign was recorded for "itch". Repeatability of the adolescents' answers and inter-agreement between the investigators had an overall agreement of 77–97% and a kappa of 0.29–0.93. When using the dermatologist's findings as gold standard, the sensitivity and specificity were best for "signs of acne", 93% and 43%, respectively.


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