Membership in a psoriasis patient association seems to be associated with some relief from psoriasis-related strains, particularly for those who joined voluntarily, a recent study found. This quasi-experimental longitudinal study included 4 groups of individuals suffering from psoriasis: those 1) with association membership of 5 years, 2) with voluntary new membership, 3) with randomly awarded membership, and 4) without membership. Participants were interviewed 2 times in 12 months, about quality of life, depression, participation in patient education classes, health status, and treatment benefits. Researchers found:
- 295 individuals participated (mean age 54 years; 50.3% females).
- At the outset of the study, participants with voluntary new membership rated their health status worse and showed higher depression scores than those with awarded membership.
- The proportion of participants who joined patient education classes only increased in the group of long-term members.
- Health status worsened in the group of non-members, and it improved in the group of those with awarded and voluntary new membership.
- Treatment benefit only increased in the voluntary new members group.
Langenbruch A, Radtke MA, Foos Z, Augustin M. Benefits of a membership in a psoriasis patient organisation: A quasi-experimental longitudinal study. Arch Dermatol Res. 2018;310(10):807-813. doi:10.1007/s00403-018-1869-x.
Psoriasis support groups are expanding, especially with the ease of communicating with others on the internet. Since psoriasis is a long-term condition and the impact of psoriasis on a person’s well-being is often times underappreciated, the psychosocial aspect of psoriasis should be incorporated into the medical care of the patient. While support groups may not help every individual with psoriasis, they are an excellent resource in providing emotional assistance, as well as educated patients about new treatments.—Paul S. Yamauchi, MD, PhD; Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Division of Dermatology; Adjunct Associate Professor John Wayne Cancer Institute.