Impact of childhood vitiligo on adult life


  • Conflicts of interest
    None declared.

M.W. Linthorst Homan.


Background  The onset of vitiligo occurs before the age of 20 years in 50% of patients. Having a chronic disease in childhood can impede a child’s health-related quality of life (HRQL).

Objectives  Firstly, to compare the social and psychosexual development and current HRQL of young adult patients with childhood vitiligo with those of a group of healthy controls. Secondly, to compare these outcomes in patients reporting negative childhood experiences with those of patients not reporting negative childhood experiences.

Methods  Eligible patients were mailed questionnaires on (i) sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, (ii) social and psychosexual development, (iii) generic and dermatology-specific HRQL, (iv) presence of negative childhood experiences related to vitiligo, (v) specification of these negative experiences and (vi) patients’ recommendations for further care.

Results  A total of 232 patients with vitiligo completed the questionnaires. Social and psychosexual development and generic HRQL in young adult patients with childhood vitiligo were not different from those of healthy controls. However, patients reporting negative childhood experiences reported significantly more problems in social development than those not reporting negative experiences. Furthermore, negative childhood experiences were significantly associated with more HRQL impairment in early adulthood.

Conclusions  Reporting negative experiences from childhood vitiligo appears to be associated with HRQL impairment in young adults with vitiligo.