Depression and suicidality in patients with psoriasis and the role of psoriatic arthritis; a cross-sectional study in a tertiary setting

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Background: Depression is overrepresented in psoriasis. However, it is not clear whether the presence of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) independently increases patients' depressive burden. Furthermore, current evidence regarding suicidality risk of psoriasis populations is conflicting, and the role of PsA in suicidality outcomes of psoriasis is unknown. Objectives: (i) To test whether PsA is associated with depression and lifetime suicidal ideation among patients with psoriasis; (ii) to capture different suicidal phenomena in these patients; and (iii) to investigate whether suicidality and depressive symptom severity are associated with clinical markers of psoriasis severity and chronicity. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of tertiary patients (n = 219, aged 18–65 years) with dermatologist-confirmed chronic plaque psoriasis, of whom 84 had rheumatologist-confirmed PsA, was undertaken. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Sheehan-Suicidality Tracking Scale were used to assess depression and lifetime suicidality, respectively. Results: PsA presence was associated with depression in patients with psoriasis, independent of other physical comorbidities (adjusted odds ratio 2.92, 95% confidence interval 1.53–5.68). Furthermore, patients with PsA experienced significantly higher levels of anhedonia and anxiety, after controlling for psychiatric history. Of all participants, 48.8% reported lifetime suicidal ideation with or without intent, 21.3% reported suicidal planning, and 9.4% reported suicide attempts. Lifetime suicidality prevalence did not differ between patients with and without PsA. Depressive symptom severity and lifetime suicidality scores were not associated with objective measures of psoriasis severity or treatment group. Conclusions: These data suggest that joint involvement in psoriasis is associated with higher depressive burden. There is a need for routine depression screening among patients with psoriasis, particularly when PsA is present. Anhedonia appears to be a particularly relevant symptom in the depression phenotype of this population. We did not find a statistically significant association between PsA and suicidality. Nevertheless, suicidality rates in tertiary patients with psoriasis appear to be higher than those in the general population. Suicidality monitoring is recommended to help in reducing future psychiatric morbidity and mortality in patients with psoriasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-383
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry
Issue number4
Early online date10 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • depression
  • psoriasis
  • psoriatic arthritis
  • psychodermatology
  • suicidality


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