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Derm News: 2007.7(10)

Psychologic distress in polymorphous light eruption and its relationship to patients' beliefs about their condition

Volume 56, Issue 3, Pages 426-431 (March 2007) J Am Acad Dermatol
Helen L. Richards, Tsui C. Ling, George Evangelou, Rebecca C.C. Brooke, Katya Huber, Neil K. Gibbs, Donal G. Fortune, Lesley E. Rhodes


Skin disease can cause psychologic difficulties, but information is lacking on the emotional impact of the common photosensitivity condition, polymorphous light eruption (PMLE).


We sought to examine the emotional impact of PMLE, and its relationships with patients' beliefs about their PMLE and health-related variables.


Patients with PMLE who had attended a hospital dermatology department were mailed the Illness Perception Questionnaire-Revised during the summers of 2002 to 2004.


Questionnaires were returned by 150 of 302 patients. Emotional distress attributable to PMLE was found in more than 40% of individuals. The emotional impact of PMLE was principally predicted by patients' beliefs about their condition (>50% of the variance), particularly regarding its consequences, whereas health-related variables played a lesser role. Women associated more severe consequences with their PMLE (z = -2.27, P = .02) and were more emotionally distressed (z = -2.17, P = .03) than men.


Hospital-based patients with PMLE may not be representative of the community.


Psychologic factors should receive greater attention in PMLE management.

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The Derm News service provided by the Editorial Consultants of Skin Therapy Letter© and its founding editor Dr. Stuart Maddin.