The impact of skin diseases on patients: Comparing dermatologists' opinions with research data collected on their patients

F. Sampogna, A. Picardi, C. F. Melchi, P. Pasquini, Damiano Abeni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Research data suggest that the detection of psychiatric disorders by dermatologists is not completely satisfactory, and that patients and dermatologists often assess patients' quality of life differently. Given that expectations influence perception and cognitia, these discrepancies might at least in part descend from conceptual models of skin disease that are prevalent among dermatologists. Objectives: We explored to what degree dermatologists' opinions about quality of life and prevalence of psychiatric disorders in several dermatological conditions corresponded to the actual data collected on their patients. Methods: All dermatologists working in a large institution were asked to express on a five-point scale their opinion about the quality of life and the prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in different skin conditions. Physicians' opinions were then compared with the results of a large research project on quality of life and psychological well-being in dermatological out-patients performed in their institution some months before. Results: Forty-six dermatologists (82%) agreed to participate and completed the research questionnaire. We observed a fairly good concordance between dermatologists' opinion about the impact of the various skin conditions on patients' lives and survey data on quality of life impairment. With regard to psychiatric morbidity, We found that dermatologists believe that psychiatric disorders are substantially less frequent than they actually are in many skin conditions. Conclusions: The belief that psychiatric morbidity is rare in patients with certain skin conditions might hamper, at least in part, the recognition of psychiatric disorders in these patients. Dermatologists probably should be more alert to the question of psychiatric morbidity in their patients. Allocating more space to this issue in training programmes for dermatologists might favour a shift in their conceptual models of skin disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-995
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2003


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Quality of life
  • Skin disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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