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Mindfulness May Improve Quality of Life in Dermatology Patients

Chronic skin conditions are linked with psychological distress, similar to that seen in patients with other chronic diseases. Dermatology patients with a chronic condition report higher rates of anxiety and depression, social anxiety and self-consciousness. Mindfulness interventions, defined as purposively and nonjudgementally paying attention in the present moment, have shown promise with helping patients cope with psychological distress related to their condition.

A recent study sought to examine the relationship between mindfulness and psychosocial distress in people living with a range of visible skin conditions. The study hypothesized that higher levels of mindfulness would be associated with lower levels of social anxiety, anxiety, depression and skin shame, and with better dermatology-specific quality of life. A small sample of patients with skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, alopecia and acne, were asked to indicate, on five-point scales, the extent to which they felt their skin condition affected their life, how visible it was, and whether they received negative comments. They also completed assessments to evaluate levels of anxiety, depression, social anxiety and quality of life. The patients rated their engagement with mindfulness activities using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire. The measure looks at five facets of mindfulness: observing, describing, acting with awareness, nonjudgement of inner experience and nonreactivity to inner experience. The results showed that high levels of anxiety, depression and social anxiety were documented in the sample of dermatology patients. The results also suggest that people living with visible skin conditions who report higher levels of mindfulness, particularly awareness, report lower levels of psychosocial distress and better quality of life, across a range of different skin conditions. Higher levels of mindfulness explained the highest proportion of variance in social anxiety in this study. The authors suggest that mindfulness interventions might be used to target social anxiety associated with skin conditions.


Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: December 5, 2016

Source: Wiley Online Library
Adapted from the original article.

[Image: Pixabay / Geralt]

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