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: Mali announces new Ebola case

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New clinical study probes how light fights psoriasis

Apr 29, 2009

Ultraviolet light is a proven treatment for psoriasis, one of humanity’s oldest known diseases. Sunshine can also beat back the chronic autoimmune disorder of the skin. But explaining light’s therapeutic ...

Recommended for you

Mali announces new Ebola case

10 hours ago

Mali announced Saturday a new case of Ebola in a man who is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in the capital Bamako.

Plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar: WHO

10 hours ago

An outbreak of plague has killed 40 people in Madagascar, the World Health Organization said, warning that the disease could spread rapidly in the country's densely populated capital Antananarivo.

UN chief: Ebola cases in Mali a 'deep concern'

Nov 21, 2014

The United Nations chief warned Friday that Ebola may be easing in part of West Africa but is still hitting hard in other areas and outpacing the international response.

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/ )

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.