Patients with Psoriasis Feel Stigmatized
Ewa Hrehorów, Joanna Salomon, Łukasz Matusiak, Adam Reich, Jacek C. Szepietowski
Stigmatization is defined as having a discrediting mark that leads to social discrimination and alienation. The aim of this study was to estimate the level of stigmatization experienced by patients with psoriasis. A total of 102 individuals with psoriasis were recruited and was assessed using the 6-item Stigmatization Scale and the 33-item Feelings of Stigmatization Questionnaire. In addition, quality of life, stress and depression were evaluated. The majority of patients felt that they were stigmatized by psoriasis. The most bothersome aspect was that other people stared at their skin changes. According to the 33-item questionnaire, anticipation of rejection and feelings of guilt and shame were the major aspects of stigmatization, the level of which correlated significantly with pruritus intensity, stress prior to exacerbation, depressive symptoms and quality of life. In order to decrease the stigmatization level in patients with psoriasis, greater effort is needed to raise awareness in contemporary societies that psoriasis is not contagious, but is a disease like many other chronic conditions.