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Int J Dermatol. 2010 Jul;49(7):784-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.04372.x.

The knowledge, awareness, and practice patterns of dermatologists toward psychocutaneous disorders: results of a survey study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.



To assess the level of training in, and awareness and attitude about, psychocutaneous disorders among dermatologists.


A mail-in survey was sent to all members of Washington State Dermatology Society, who were requested to provide information on demographic variables; level of training, skills, and degree of comfort in managing psychodermatologic disorders; referral patterns, knowledge of patient and family resources on psychodermatology; and interest in continuing medical education on psychocutaneous disorders.


Of 237 mailed surveys, 102 were returned for analysis. Only 18% of dermatologists reported a clear understanding of psychodermatology, and 42% of the respondents reported being very comfortable in diagnosing and treating psychocutaneous disorders. Acne, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis were reported as the most common diagnoses associated with psychiatric manifestations. Delusion of parasitosis, neurotic excoriations, and trichotillomania were the most common conditions wherein patients were referred by dermatologists to psychiatrists. About 90% of the survey respondents were not aware of any patient or family resources on psychodermatology. Overall, 39% of the dermatologists expressed interest in attending any kind of continuing medical education activity on psychodermatologic disorders.


Survey results showed that knowledge about the diagnosis, treatment and/or appropriate referral for psychocutaneous disorders is lacking. Significant information gaps were also identified in the knowledge of patient or family resources on psychocutaneous disorders. We recommend the incorporation of formal training and didactics on psychodermatology in dermatology residency programs and regular CME events. Dermatology-Psychiatry liaison services and psychodermatology clinics will prove helpful in the management of these patients in clinical settings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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