Alopecia

The Emotional Regulation and the Quality of Life of Patients with Alopecia: Observational prospective exploratory study

This study intends to explore the impact of alopecia on the quality of life (QOL) of patients, both in basic conditions and after the doctor has provided correct information regarding causes and therapies. First of all, we intend to explore how variables such as personality , emotional reactivity, susceptibility to stress, and beliefs related to the disease and its course influence the perception and management of alopecia. These variables ultimately determine the quality of life of our patients. Taking into account these basic characteristics, the study aims to investigate the (positive) effects of communication between doctor and patient on the patients' understanding the disease, acceptance of therapy, demonstrated collaboration, perceived satisfaction, and QOL variables.

Scope of Research / Research Project / Ongoing Research Objectives:

In recent years, interest in the impact of dermatological diseases on patients’ Quality of Life (QOL), has been growing, even if the impact is not serious with regards to the physical health. But, as they are immediately visible externally, these diseases can significantly modify their personal lives. Among these diseases, alopecia (hair loss) is among the most studied: it is a pathology which only changes the external appearance of the body without affecting its health which can nonetheless induce significant psychological stress and significantly reduce QOL. A typical example is alopecia induced by chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer. Among the various side effects of chemotherapy, alopecia is considered one of the most traumatizing and painful experiences for women with breast cancer, often described as more difficult than losing breasts. Some patients try to refuse chemotherapy for fear of hair loss [Choi et al., 2014]. Other types of alopecia, including the more frequent alopecia areata (AA) and androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also negatively affect QOL, producing stress and feelings of inferiority that lead to different coping strategies, which include the use of headgear / wigs or antisocial behavior [Qi et al., 2015; Bilgiç et al., 2014; Han et al., 2012; Sawant et al., 2010]. Some recent studies consistently demonstrate a significant influence of emotional regulation and the level of education on the coping strategies of the patient with alopecia, as well as the importance of communication with the doctor in order to better manage the disease and its treatments [Firooz et al., 2005]. Understanding the causes of the disease appears particularly critical, especially in patients with AA, since popular beliefs and incorrect ideas that the patients may present themselves often prevail, identifying stress as the primary cause of hair loss. Therefore there clearly emerges a correct management of patients with alopecia. A doctor who: 1. Takes into consideration the patient’s personality characteristics and the way the patient manages emotions and 2. Provides clear information about the causes of the disease and treatments can improve their emotional experience, their QOL and, presumably, their adherence to treatment and overall satisfaction with the medical care received.

HEAD OF RESEARCH GROUP

Team

Andrea Ardizzoni

Full Professor

Francesca Bruni

PhD Student

Michele Cavo

Full Professor

Enrico Giampieri

Associate Professor

Emanuela Marcelli

Associate Professor

Michela Mazzetti

Associate Professor

Cosimo Misciali

Adjunct professor

Annalisa Patrizi

Alma Mater Honorary Professor

Paolo Maria Russo

Full Professor

Michela Valeria Rita Starace

Junior assistant professor (fixed-term)

Claudio Zamagni

Professore a contratto a titolo gratuito per attività professionalizzanti nelle scuole di specializzazione di area sanitaria, ex D.I. 68/2015

Collaborations

Miriam Carpanese, team member