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16-09-2021 Open Access

Happiness and depression in psoriasis: a cross-sectional study in Germany

Quality of Life Research
Barbara Schuster, Corinna Peifer, Stefanie Ziehfreund, Linda Tizek, Tilo Biedermann, Alexander Zink, Maximilian C. Schielein
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Alexander Zink and Maximilian C. Schielein have contributed equally to this work.

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Prior research on the psychological consequences of skin diseases has focused on assessing mental comorbidities. The aim of this study was to investigate subjective well-being in a large sample of individuals affected by psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, and to explore the associations with depression and disease-related parameters such as disease severity.


A cross-sectional online survey was conducted from March to June 2019. The link to the questionnaire was shared on websites and Facebook pages of psoriasis patient organizations and campaigns. Participants filled in validated scales measuring subjective well-being—operationalized as positive affect (PA), negative affect (NA) and satisfaction with life (SWL); and depression.


The data of 722 participants were analyzed. Exploratory factor analysis supported the differentiation of PA, NA, SWL, and depression as four different constructs. The respondents reported lower levels of PA than healthy individuals and judged themselves to be less happy and were less satisfied with their lives than the general population (except age group 65 + years). 40.3% of respondents were screened positive for depression. More severe psoriasis was associated with lower affective well-being and a higher risk for depression.


The results of this study empirically supported the differentiation of subjective well-being and depression as different constructs in individuals with psoriasis, and underline the large mental burden of the disease which goes beyond a higher risk for depression. Measures of well-being should thus be incorporated in both research and clinical practice in patients with psoriasis in order to achieve a more comprehensive picture of the mental burden of this disease.

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