Virtual communities may provide valuable support for psoriasis patients

Jan 19, 2009

Online support communities appear to offer both a valuable educational resource and a source of psychological and social support for individuals with psoriasis, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Psoriasis currently affects approximately 0.6 percent to 4.8 percent of the world's population," according to background information in the article. In addition to causing skin and joint problems, psoriasis can also impair individuals' financial status and emotional, physical and sexual well-being. It is estimated that 10 percent of psoriasis patients have contemplated suicide. "As a result, it is a necessity to provide patients with access to psychological support."

Shereene Z. Idriss, B.A., and colleagues at the Center for Connected Health and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, assessed perceived benefits and usage of online psoriasis support groups among 260 adults who participated in one of five such groups (average age 40). Patients' disease characteristics and demographic information were also recorded.

Participants were mostly white (75.7 percent), female (60.4 percent) and college-educated (84.3 percent). "A total of 188 (73.7 percent) reported having moderate or more severe psoriasis, and 206 (79.9 percent) rated their current general health status as average or better," the authors write.

Availability of resources was cited as the key factor for use of an online support site. Convenience, access to good advice and lack of embarrassment when dealing with personal issues followed. Three-fourths of participants also named anonymity as an important feature of online support use. Almost half (49.5 percent) of participants perceived improvements in their quality of life and 41 percent perceived improvements in psoriasis severity since joining an online support community.

"Although online psoriasis support groups are still in their nascent stage, they have captured a loyal and growing audience," the authors conclude. "The dermatology community should consider leveraging the infrastructure of online support groups to build on delivering personalized and integrated medical care to individuals affected by psoriasis."

Citation: Arch Dermatol. 2009;145[1]:46-51.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Guidelines issued for medical management of kidney stones

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scalping can raise ticket prices

6 hours ago

Scalping gets a bad rap. For years, artists and concert promoters have stigmatized ticket resale as a practice that unfairly hurts their own sales and forces fans to pay exorbitant prices for tickets to sold-out concerts. ...

Tropical Storm Genevieve forms in Eastern Pacific

8 hours ago

The seventh tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific Ocean formed and quickly ramped up to a tropical storm named "Genevieve." NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an infrared image of the newborn storm ...

Recommended for you

Fatigue, fear are daily lot of Ebola fighters: experts

7 hours ago

Doctors, nurses and hospital workers fighting the Ebola epidemic in west Africa are struggling with a daily burden of exhaustion, shortage of staff and fear for themselves over the deadly virus, specialists say.

Hong Kong makes Ebola 'contingency' measures

10 hours ago

Hong Kong said Wednesday it was quarantining all people from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia who were showing Ebola-like symptoms on arrival in the city, as fears grow worldwide about the spread of the deadly virus.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

irshad
not rated yet Jan 23, 2009
I thing virtual communities are playing vital role in treatment of different serious skin condition.
Role of virtual community is more important for chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and in the same manner for other skin conditions such as vitilgo(www.antivitiligo.com/vitiligo/ )