Penn study examines public perceptions of common skin disease.
The stigma associated with the autoimmune disease psoriasis may lead people to avoid patients who show signs of the condition, including not wanting to date, shake hands, or have people in their homes if they suffer from the disease.
New multidisciplinary research involving both psychologists and dermatologists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is the first to examine how common this stigma may be among the general population of the United States as well as among medical students. The study also found false perceptions about psoriasis continue to persist, including the belief that psoriasis is contagious and that it is not a serious illness. Researchers published their findings in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology today.
Psoriasis is a common, chronic autoimmune disease affecting more than eight million Americans, causing painful, thick, red patches on the skin that often itch and bleed. It also has profound effects on health-related quality of life, and in moderate to severe cases, it carries an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death. It is not contagious, and while it is treatable, there is currently no cure.
"It's possible that better education about the disease, as well as contact with individuals with psoriasis, may help to dispel myths and stereotypes and reduce negative perceptions," Pearl said. Rebecca L. Pearl, PhD, an assistant professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, was the lead author of the study.READ FULL REPORT