Using data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, researchers tested their hypothesis that psychological factors can precipitate or exacerbate skin disease. Women between the ages of 22 and 27 at baseline in 1996 were surveyed about physical and mental health symptoms then and on three follow-up occasions. As part of these surveys, women were asked how often they had experienced skin problems in the previous year.
In the generalized estimating equation models, depression symptoms and stress (but not anxiety) were significantly associated with skin problems. The findings of this relationship of depression and stress to skin disease may have considerable clinical implications, including the possible benefits of psychological interventions in the management of patients with skin disease.
Previous studies have evaluated the emotional burden of chronic skin disorders, such as psoriasis.
People with chronic skin disorders should seek care from a dermatologist and openly share the emotional aspects of their lives that may be critically important for managing their condition.