HS Patients That Face Skin Bias Are More Depressed, Have Worse QOL

Many patients with hidradenitis suppurative (HS) endure high levels of internalized skin bias (ISB), which is associated with affective disorders like depression and anxiety, and adverse health-related quality of life (HRQOL), according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology.

In this cross-sectional study, researchers assessed survey results of 230 adult patients (mostly women, 88.7%) with HS who were recruited from academic medical centers, and various virtual social and recruitment networks. The online surveys comprised of four instruments as well as demographic and disease history information from April 2021, to July 15, 2021.

The main end point of interest was HRQOL, which was measured by the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Quality of Life (HiSQOL) instrument. Other measures included the Internalized Skin Bias Questionnaire (ISBQ), Burns Anxiety Inventory, and the Beck Depression Inventory-II. The data were analyzed in July through August 2021, the researchers noted.

According to the results, depression and anxiety were a significant burden in this sample, with 56.5% of participants’ scores qualifying for moderate or greater anxiety and 45.7% moderate or greater depression. The results showed that the average HRQOL scores were moderately high at 34.5 (16.7), indicating strong levels of impairment, the researchers noted. Overall, the researchers observed that ISB appears to positively mediate the correlations between depression and anxiety and HRQOL.

“This cross-sectional study found that ISB was associated with adverse psychopathology and impaired HRQOL in patients with HS. Furthermore, ISB appears to mediate the associations of depression and anxiety with HRQOL,” the researchers concluded. They added that future studies are necessary “to design interventions targeted at addressing adverse psychopathology associated with ISB and improving HRQOL and well-being for patients with HS.”