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Caregiver burdens and coping strategies of spouses of individuals with psoriasis

May 21, 2024
Learning objective: After reading this article, learners will be able to cite a new clinical development in psoriasis.

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Psoriasis can cause psychological and social burdens for patients, their families, and their caregivers.1 This burden can be especially felt by spouses, who are often the primary caregiver and may face unique challenges in supporting the patient.1 

Here, we summarize a qualitative study by Wu et al.1 published in the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare on the burden faced by and coping strategies of spouses of individuals with psoriasis. 

Study design1 

  • A total of 15 participants were recruited from the Department of Dermatology at Shanghai Skin Disease Hospital between November 2022 and March 2023. 

  • Patients were eligible for inclusion if they were married to an individual with psoriasis and lived with them. 

  • Data were collected through patient interviews, which collected sociodemographic information, and data on coping strategies (Figure 1). 

Figure 1. How data was collected* 

FDLQI, Family Dermatology Life Quality Index; HADS, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. 
*Data from Wu, et al.1 


Key findings1 

  • Participants had an average age of 50.2 years, and the majority were female (66.67%).  

  • The mean Family Dermatology Life Quality Index (FDLQI) was 18.4. 60% and 66.67% of patients scored higher than 7 on the anxiety and depression subscales of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) respectively. 

  • The study identified 3 main themes: 

    • overwhelming disease burden; 

    • lack of support system; and 

    • coping strategies. 

  • Participants were interviewed and gave comments on disease burden (Figure 2) and their coping strategies. 

  • Coping strategies included active or passive acceptance of the situation, avoiding disease-related problems, proactively acquiring disease knowledge, actively confronting the disease, and altering behavioral habits. 

Figure 1. Participant opinions on disease burden* 

*Adapted from Wu, et al.1 


Key learnings 

  • In this study, spouses of patients with psoriasis revealed they experience extreme caregiving burdens, which impacted their relationship, and could lead to an increase in mental health disorders. 

  • There were multiple coping strategies employed by the spouses. Some of these were adaptive or problem-centered strategies, which in turn can improve treatment adherence in patients. However, spouses reported experiencing stigmatization related to the disease, which could lead to passive, avoidance-based coping strategies. 

  • Healthcare professionals should proactively support spouses and promote adaptive coping strategies to facilitate the management of psoriasis and increase quality of life for both patients and spouses.  

  1. Wu M, Zeng S, Zhang Y, et al. Disease burden and coping strategies of spouses of patients with psoriasis: A qualitative study. J Multidiscip Healthc. 2024;17:1653-1662. DOI: 10.2147/JMDH.S458075 

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