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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1979 Apr;1(1):73-7.

Psychological reaction to chronic skin disorders: a study of patients with vitiligo.


Diseases that cause physical handicaps can seriously interfere with the life of a patient. Some disorders such as vitiligo cosmetically disfigure patients without producing any physical disabilities. The effects of such diseases as vitiligo on the life of a patient have not been widely investigated. The investigation reported here utilized a questionnaire survey to focus on emotional disturbances caused by vitiligo and on the factors that differentiated patients who cope well from those who cope poorly with this stress. The results indicate that the cosmetic disfigurement of a seemingly inconsequential skin disease also can seriously disrupt the lives of a large number of patients. Those who cope well with their disfigurement have higher self-esteem than a matched control group without the disorder. Those who cope poorly have significantly lower self-esteem, which suggests that response to disfiguring diseases is affected by basic ego strength. Younger patients and those individuals in the lower socioeconomic groups show especially poor adjustment. A number of suggestions for better patient care are offered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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