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Rev Med Chil. 2009 Jan;137(1):53-62. doi: /S0034-98872009000100008. Epub 2009 Apr 23.

[Possible role of psychological and environmental factors in the genesis of childhood vitiligo].

[Article in Spanish]

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Departamento de Dermatología, Clínica Las Condes.



The exposure to stressing situations may play a role in the appearance of vitiligo. Patients with the disease have a greater sensitivity to environmental stress and a lower threshold to generate catecholamine mediated responses.


To evaluate the temperament and character of patients with vitiligo and explore the relationship of the disease with negative life events and life quality impairment.


The study population were 21 patients with vitiligo aged 5 to 12 years, and two control groups (Gl and G2). Gl was composed by 14 healthy siblings of vitiligo patients. G2 was composed by 21 age and gender matched healthy students from two schools in Santiago, Chile. The Junior Temperament and Character Inventory (JTCI), the Qualitative Psychosocial Development Survey (QPDS), the Life Event Checklist (LEC) and the Children's Life Quality index (CDLQI) were applied (LEC only to vitiligo patients).


On the temperament dimensions, vitiligo patients scored high on the "harm avoidance" scale in comparison to G2 (13.7 v/s 10.6). Compared with Gl, QPDS showed in vitiligo patients a higher frequency of fear to strangers (71% and 36%, respectively) and a predominant feeling of fear and shyness in response to changes in a close relative (80% and 8%, respectively). There was a negative correlation (protective factor) between the character dimension "self-directedness" and CDLQI score (r =-0.703).


In this group of patients, we found a possible relationship between a specific temperament dimension, vitiligo and its impact on life quality.

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