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Quality of Life and Psychological Aspects

Dr Kiprono and colleagues from Tanzania found that in vitiligo patients of African descent there was a moderate impairment of quality of life when studied using the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI: International Journal of Dermatology 2013; 52: 191-4). In Turkey, Dr Bilgic and colleagues looked at depression in children and adolescents with vitiligo (see Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 2011; 36: 360-5).

They found that vitiligo relates to the severity of depression in children, but a similar effect was not observed in adolescents, and suggested that the location of the lesions is a significant factor that leads to quality of life impairment, possibly because of its effects on identity development. In Korean adolescents with vitiligo, researchers found that quality of life is closely related to the patients' apprehensions about their disease, psychosocial adjustment, and psychiatric morbidity, rather than the clinical severity of the condition itself (Choi et al. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 2010; 24: 524-9).

The ways in which British Asian women manage and adjust psychosocially to vitiligo, and the potential role of ethnicity and culture in this process have been investigated (Thompson et al. British Journal of Dermatology 2010; 163: 481-6).  Asian women described feeling visibly different and all had experienced stigmatization to some extent. Avoidance and concealment were commonplace. Experiences of stigmatization were often perceived to be associated with cultural values related to appearance, status, and myths linked to the cause of the condition.

Researchers from Belgium found that the quality of life impairment in women affected with vitiligo assessed using the DLQI, was equal to the impairment caused by psoriasis (Ongenae et al. British Journal of Dermatology 2005; 152: 1165-72).  Sukan and Maner researching in Turkey, found that vitiligo had a negative impact on the sex lives of women with vitiligo (Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 2007; 33: 55-64.).