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Br J Dermatol. 2016 Nov;175(5):930-936. doi: 10.1111/bjd.14719. Epub 2016 Sep 18.

The importance of mindfulness in psychosocial distress and quality of life in dermatology patients.

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Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TP, U.K..
Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TP, U.K.
Department of Dermatology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, U.K.



Mindfulness, defined as purposively and nonjudgementally paying attention in the present moment, could be used within psychosocial interventions to reduce the distress associated with social anxiety and avoidance found in many skin conditions. However, little is known about the relationship between naturally occurring levels of mindfulness and distress in dermatology patients.


To examine the relationship between mindfulness and psychosocial distress in a dermatological population. It was hypothesized that higher levels of mindfulness would be associated with lower levels of social anxiety, anxiety, depression and skin shame, and with better quality of life.


Adult dermatology outpatients (n = 120) from one hospital completed items assessing subjective severity, skin shame, fear of negative evaluation, anxiety and depression, quality of life, and levels of mindfulness.


Considering depression, 14% reported mild, 5% moderate and 2·5% severe symptoms. For anxiety, 22% reported mild, 23% moderate and 6% severe symptoms. In addition, 33·4% reported clinically significant social anxiety. After controlling for subjective severity, mindfulness explained an additional 19% of the variance in depression, 39% in anxiety, 41% in social anxiety, 13% in skin shame and 6% in dermatological quality of life. One specific facet of mindfulness (acting with awareness) was found to be the most consistent predictor of distress.


The findings indicate that higher levels of mindfulness are associated with lower distress. This suggests that facilitating mindfulness may be helpful in reducing distress in dermatology patients, and the use of mindfulness techniques warrants further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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