Self-esteem and Suicidal Risk among Subjects with Dermatological Disorders in a West African Teaching Hospital

O. A. Owoeye, O. F. Aina, P. F. Omoluabi, Y. M. Olumide



Introduction: Skin diseases are reportedly associated with low self-esteem and can result in anxiety, depression, and suicide. The paucity of research in this important field in Nigeria necessitated this study.
Method: A prospective and cross-sectional study on attendees in the dermatology clinic of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria, with skin diseases ≥6 months duration. An equal number of apparently healthy controls matched for age and sex also were evaluated. The subjects and controls were assessed with the sociodemographic questionnaire Index of Self-Esteem (ISE) and the subscales C, D, E, and J of the Symptom Distress Checklist-90 Revised (SCL-90-R). The data obtained was analyzed using SPSS version 10 on PC.
Results: An equal number (80) of subjects and controls, of even sex distribution with mean ages of 33±12.1 and 34.6±7.3 years, respectively, were studied. The common skin diseases among the subjects included acne, urticaria, vitiligo, tinea, and Hansen’s disease. The mean ISE scores of the subjects and controls were 28.7±13.4 and 21.56±10.7, respectively, and the difference was significant with “t” of 3.75*. Assessment with the SCL-subscales showed the subjects’ mean scores ranged from 4.7±5.4 to 11.1±10.6, and the controls’ mean scores ranged from 2.0±3.2 to 5.1±5.2. The differences were significant with “t” ranging from 2.75* to 4.59* (critical “t” =1.66 and p≤0.05).
Conclusion: The subjects had statistically significant higher mean scores on assessment compared with the controls. These higher scores indicate lower self-esteem and increased risk of depression and suicide.


Self-esteem, chronic skin diseases, Nigeria, suicidal risks

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