Risk Communication and Lifestyle Behaviour Change in People with Psoriasis

    Student thesis: Unknown


    People with psoriasis are known to engage in high levels of unhealthy lifestyle behaviours which may lead to poorer psoriasis outcomes and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Thus, helping individuals with psoriasis understand the link between behaviours and health risks, that is health risk communication, and direct support for lifestyle behaviour change (LBC) are important aspects in optimal management of psoriasis, a long-term inflammatory skin condition.There are two aspects of the literature that remain unclear. First, whether adequate support is given to patients to enable them to understand the links between lifestyle behaviours and health outcomes is part of psoriasis patient management strategies. Second, whether there is agreement around effective health risk communication techniques. This programme of research aimed to examine these gaps in the literature using four related studies. The first study used content analysis to examine general and dermatology-specific healthcare professionals' core training competencies for evidence of skills relating to LBC. An important finding was the lack of explicit skills relating to LBC and changing understanding of health risks. There was little or no reference to recognised LBC techniques that could be used to support and facilitate LBC with patients.The second study used observational techniques to examine messages about the links between behaviour and health outcomes and LBC signposting (such as leaflets or posters about healthy living) for patients with psoriasis in primary and secondary care patient waiting areas. There was little evidence of psoriasis-specific information about healthy living. Generic information (not specifically about psoriasis) was often of poor quality and was poorly displayed, and did not conform to evidence-based recommendations for effective LBC signposting.The third study combined observational and qualitative techniques to examine how healthcare professionals communicate information about CVD risk to patients and the role of LBC in reducing risk in the context of primary care risk assessments with people with psoriasis. A key finding was that interpretation of risk information was not always linked to specific advice about how to modify each risk factor. Discussion was mostly instructional rather than a shared collaborative discussion about behaviour change and risk reductionThe fourth study used experimental methods to examine the effects of message framing theory as a health risk communication strategy on reported behavioural intentions (BIs) in people with psoriasis. An important finding was that for messages about psoriasis symptom reduction, gain-framed (positively-framed) messages were more effective in increasing BIs for alcohol reduction. Conversely, for messages about CVD risk reduction, loss-framed (negatively-framed) messages were more effective for increasing BIs to reduce alcohol consumption. The body of work presented in this thesis demonstrated that much needs to be done to increase the skill sets of healthcare professionals in order to help people with psoriasis recognise the specific links between their own health behaviours and health outcomes. In addition specific recommendations have been suggested as a way of improving risk communication strategies, such as using theory-based personally-relevant health information for people with psoriasis.
    Date of Award1 Aug 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorLis Cordingley (Supervisor), Pauline Nelson (Supervisor) & Edna Bundy (Supervisor)


    • Psoriasis
    • Lifestyle
    • Risk communication
    • Health Psychology
    • Dermatology
    • behaviour change

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