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Research Letter
October 2016

Exploring Coping Strategies for Patients With Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, Penn State Milton S Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania
  • 2Department of Psychology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
  • 3Department of Medicine, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(10):1166-1167. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.1942

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that causes intensely sore nodules and abscesses that result in scars and dyspigmentation. Patients with HS can experience severe pain and discharge that may be malodorous.1 Hidradenitis suppurativa may lead to negative impacts on work and income, interpersonal relationships, self-worth, psychological health, as well as sexual dysfunction and distress.2,3 However, studies on the impact of HS on patients’ quality of life (QOL) do not comprehensively address patients’ coping and resilience strategies. For example, Esmann and Jemec2 conducted a study on the psychosocial effects of HS, the findings of which were in line with other published studies demonstrating the negative impacts of HS. However, they briefly mentioned instances of positive impacts of social support (eg, a woman being supported by a romantic partner to wear a sleeveless top and consequently feeling a sense of triumph).2 Whereas, to our knowledge, research on HS and positive coping is nonexistent, long-standing research4 on other skin disorders, such as psoriasis, shows that patients use multiple coping strategies. The objective of this study was to explore the coping strategies of individuals with HS.