Detection of psychological distress in patients with psoriasis: Low consensus between dermatologist and patient

Helen Richards, Helen L. Richards, D. G. Fortune, A. Weidmann, S. K T Sweeney, C. E M Griffiths

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Background: Researchers have indicated that 30-40% of patients with psoriasis suffer significant psychological distress. For the appropriate clinical management of the patient with psoriasis it is important that dermatologists are able to recognize this distress. Objectives: To examine the level of agreement between dermatologists and patients with psoriasis as to the presence of clinically significant psychological distress. Methods: Forty-three consultations between dermatologists and patients with psoriasis were assessed. Following the consultation two assessments were undertaken: the patients completed measures of anxiety and depression, and the consulting dermatologists recorded whether they believed the patient to be psychologically distressed and, if so, their subsequent action. At the end of the study, all dermatologists who participated completed the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy. Results: Self-report questionnaires indicated that 37% and 12% of patients were identified as probable clinical cases for anxiety and depression, respectively. In general, the level of agreement between patient rating and dermatologist rating as to the presence of anxiety or depression was low (kappa statistic 0.24 and 0.26, respectively). Dermatologist empathy level did not appear to influence identification of distress. In only 39% of cases were the psychological difficulties of significantly distressed patients raised by dermatologists during the consultation. Conclusions: Agreement between dermatologists and patients with psoriasis regarding the presence of clinically significant psychological distress was low. When dermatologists did identify patients as being anxious and/or depressed, in the majority of cases no further action was taken following the consultation. This study highlights a number of areas for improvement in the psychological management of patients with psoriasis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1227-1233
    Number of pages6
    JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
    Volume151
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

    Keywords

    • Anxiety
    • Consultation
    • Depression
    • Psoriasis
    • Psychological management

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