DOI: 10.3390/jcm12165406 ISSN:

Self-Perceived Social Support of Patients with Chronic Skin Diseases in Saudi Arabia: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Aesha Farheen Siddiqui
  • General Medicine

Background: Chronic skin diseases have been recognised as having a detrimental effect on patients’ social functions. Objectives: To assess the perceived social support in patients with chronic skin disease and its associated factors. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between January and April 2019 on patients with skin diseases taking treatment at Asir Central Hospital, Abha, Saudi Arabia. Patients of both sexes aged above 18 years undergoing treatment for a skin disease in ACH for more than 3 months (chronic skin disease) were recruited by simple random sampling, and a total of 249 patients returned completed questionnaires. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect relevant information about the background and disease characteristics of the patients and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). The software package IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 23.0. Armonk, NY, USA: IBM Corp., was used for data entry and analysis. Descriptive statistics were used for patient characteristics, and perceived social support was analysed according to specific scoring criteria. The Kruskal–Wallis test and Mann–Whitney U test were used to find out the association of background and disease variables with the perceived social support. Correlation analysis was used to find the relationship of social support with the age of the patient. All associations were considered significant at p < 0.05. Result: The mean age of the study group was 36.52 ± 14.22 years. The majority of the patients were females (71.1%). Atopic dermatitis was the most common skin disease reported, with 22.1% of all patients suffering from it. Mean scores of perceived social support score were low globally (24.97 ± 12.31), as well as in the three dimensions of significant other (7.75 ± 4.14), friends (7.90 ± 4.59), and family support (9.40 ± 5.48). A significant difference in social support was perceived by patients with a disease duration of 3 months to 1 year and those with papulo-squamous skin disease as compared to acne. The presence of skin disease in a second-degree relative indicated a higher level of social support perception and had a significant positive correlation (r = 0.194, p = 0.002) with the age of the patient. Conclusion: Saudi patients with chronic skin disease have low social support. Some important insights into the functioning of social support were suggested by the study finding, which pointed to the significant effect of disease duration, type of disease, and presence of disease in second-degree relatives on the perception of social support in patients with a variety of chronic skin diseases. Qualitative exploratory and prospective research could help in understanding this aspect of psychosocial health in a better way and help to provide solutions.

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