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Depression, Anxiety, and Self-Management Linked to Eczema-Related Quality of Life

Patients with eczema who reported comorbid anxiety and depression were more likely to report lower levels of self-management.

A recent investigation from the United Kingdom found that self-management, anxiety, and depression significantly influenced the quality of life of patients with chronic eczema.

Additionally, patients with eczema who reported comorbid anxiety and depression were more likely to report lower levels of self-management.

The chronic inflammatory skin condition affects 1 in 12 adults in the United Kingdom, but the lack of public education has resulted in many patients being unaware of the implications eczema has on their mental health.

In recent years, psychological interventions for anxiety and depression have shown to be effective for eczema-related quality of life, which prompted investigators led by Gulcan Garip, PhD, College of Health, Psychology & Social Care to examine the relationship between self-management, anxiety, and depression on the quality of life of patients with chronic eczema.

The Methods

The correlational study enrolled participants via posts on Facebook and Twitter, public survey-sharing websites, and the University of Derby research sharing scheme that included volunteers with a self-declared diagnosis of chronic eczema.

A total of 77 participants were enrolled in the study, and eligible participants were 18 years or older with chronic eczema, not from a vulnerable population, and not currently receiving treatment for anxiety or depression.

Among the participants, 69% identified as female, and 77% selected the 19-29 years age bracket. The current health status reported in the study featured 61% “good” responses.

Participants completed a total of 65 questions in the featured survey.

Assessment for self-management of chronic conditions was measured via the Partners in Health (PIH) scale, and anxiety and depression were measured by the General Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD7) scale and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale, respectively.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization Quality of Life Bred (WHOQOL-BREF) scale was used to assess participants’ quality of life.

The Findings

The results from the sample indicated a trend of self-management of eczema contributing less variance to quality of life alongside comorbid anxiety and depression.

Investigators believed this suggested that self-management had reduced influence on eczema-related quality of life when anxiety and depression were present.

Additionally, low self-management, high anxiety, and high depression significantly negatively influence quality of life, with all 3 variables combined accounting for 41.1% of variance in quality-of-life scores, thus suggesting anxiety, depression and self-management influence quality of life in the sample.

The current sample of self-management, anxiety and depression reported showed worse self-management and higher anxiety and depression than in respective population average. The team believed this data reflected potential clinical reluctance to offer public education of eczema self-management and a possible lack of diagnosis of anxiety and depression.

“This has important implications for primary care treatment of chronic eczema, as self-management education might be less effective when patients experience symptoms of anxiety or depression,” the team wrote.