European Journal of Dermatology


Personality differences between patients with lichen simplex chronicus and normal population: A study of pruritus Volume 20, issue 3, May-June 2010

Department of Personality, Assessment and Psychological Treatment, Faculty of Psychology, University of Murcia, Av. Juan Carlos I, 6, 7°H, 30008, Murcia, Spain, Dermatology Service of the Hospital General Universitario Reina Sofía, Avda. Intendente Jorge Palacios, 1 30003 Murcia, Spain

Itching is common to many skin disorders. The relationship between skin disease and psychological variables has been widely documented in the literature. The association between the exacerbation of skin lesions and increased levels of psychopathological conditions in response to stressful events has also been described. Lichen Simplex Chronicus (LSC) is a skin disorder characterized by itching, which seems to have a marked psychological component. However, examples of empirical evidence linking this skin disorder to personality variables, as measured by standardized personality questionnaires, are relatively few so far. The objective of this research was to investigate the involvement of certain personality variables in the development of LSC. The personality profiles of 60 patients with LSC were compared to a normative sample of the normal Spanish population, who were free of any kind of skin disease. The personality variables for the LSC group were obtained by administering the Millon Index of Personality Styles (MIPS). Participants with LSC presented personality characteristics that differed from the control group. The most significant variables were as follows: greater tendency to pain-avoidance, greater dependency on other peoples' desires, and more conforming and dutiful compared to the control group. Results are discussed in the light of other dermatological pathologies that might share some characteristics with LSC subjects. Lichen simplex chronicus patients may present differential personality characteristics that could be related to triggering and exacerbating skin lesions. Therefore, it is relevant to evaluate the personality profiles of these people to increase treatment efficiency.