Background: Visible psoriasis skin symptoms have a severe psychological impact on quality of life. To improve clinical approaches, methods of assessing these aspects are needed. Objectives: To investigate the influence of psoriasis on patients' body image based on the Body Image Model (BIM). Methods: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted. Transcriptions of the interviews were subsequently analyzed using concepts from the BIM. Results: Eight patients with severe to moderate psoriasis (PASI ≥10) were interviewed. Five thematic issues linked to the negative impact of psoriasis on patient body image were identified: body coverage, sexual inhibitions, the influence of social support, reduced exercise activity and a negative self-image. Furthermore, information obtained through the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) questionnaires did not entirely reflect statements from patients made during interviews. Conclusion: An altered body image has a psychosocial impact on patients with visible psoriasis that may result in increased body coverage, sexual inhibitions and reduced exercise activity. This further affects self-image negatively and influences how people with psoriasis handle the risk of metabolic syndrome. Assessment of patient body image using components of the BIM increases the possibility of identifying important psychosocial aspects of psoriasis and the related risk of metabolic syndrome and is thus a valuable support for the DLQI questionnaires.
Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 2014, Vol 25, Issue 1, p. 2-7