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Abstract

Background  Patients with psoriasis commonly report severe sensory skin symptoms, sleep disturbance, psychological distress and impaired health related quality of life (HRQoL). However, the complex associations among these factors are poorly investigated in this patient group.

Objectives  The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between skin pain or skin discomfort and HRQoL, and explore whether sleep disturbance and psychological distress were mediators of these associations.

Methods  A total of 139 psoriasis patients from a university hospital setting participated in this exploratory, cross-sectional study. Data were obtained through interviews and questionnaires (Dermatology Life Quality Index, General Sleep Disturbance Scale, Illness Perception Questionnaire) and analysed using a series of multiple regression analyses. HRQoL was the dependent variable. Independent variables and assumed mediators were entered into the model in a predefined order.

Results  Skin pain, skin discomfort, sleep disturbance and psychological distress were significantly associated with HRQoL (all P < 0.05). Sleep disturbance was a partial mediator for the association between skin pain and HRQoL. No such mediation effect was found in terms of psychological distress. The total model explained 40% of the variance in HRQoL.

Conclusion  In this study, skin pain and skin discomfort were significantly related to HRQoL when controlling for demographic and clinical characteristics. In addition, sleep disturbance mediated the association between skin pain and HRQoL. An understanding of the complex association among physiological and psychological factors, and HRQoL is clinically important in order to provide proper treatment and care of patients with psoriasis.