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Acta Derm Venereol. 2017 Aug 31;97(8):934-940. doi: 10.2340/00015555-2707.

Alexithymia, Illness Perception and Self-management Competency in Psoriasis.

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Department of Health Sciences, Institute of Health and Society, Medical Faculty, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


Alexithymia, defined as difficulty in describing or recognizing emotions, has been shown to be connected with psoriasis, but its relationship with self-management of psoriasis has not been explored. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of alexithymia and its relationship with self-management and illness perception in the context of psoriasis. A total of 163 patients participating in 3 weeks of climate heliotherapy (CHT) at Gran Canaria were assessed for alexithymia using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) at baseline. Self-reported measures for self-management (Health Education Impact Questionnaire; heiQ), and disease severity and illness perception (Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire; BIPQ) were assessed twice. Of all patients, 14.1% were characterized as alexithymic and 22.1% scored in the intermediate range. Alexithymic patients scored significantly worse in all heiQ domains, and reported worse illness perception. However, there were no between-group differences in heiQ or BIPQ change from baseline to after CHT. In conclusion, this study shows that alexithymia indicates inferior self-management and reaffirms the associations with illness perception. Further research is required into these relationships.

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