An Exploration of Emotional Distress in Adults with Acne

Prof Doc Thesis

Clark, Susannah 2016. An Exploration of Emotional Distress in Adults with Acne. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsClark, Susannah
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Rationale: Current empirical yet atheoretical psychodermatological literature demonstrates the importance of demographic and psychodermatological factors in the distress experienced in adult acne. Objectification Theory (OT) provides a promising approach to understand distress, which has not previously been explored for relevance in this group. OT emphasises the roles of body surveillance and body shame. The potential relevance of both general and acne-specific OT constructs to further understanding of distress in adult acne has been demonstrated. The study’s aim was to explore the relevance of demographic, psychodermatological and OT factors in predicting distress in this population.
Method: A cross-sectional design was used to examine relationships between age, psychodermatological factors (acne severity, visibility, duration), general OT factors (body surveillance, body shame), acne-specific OT factors (acne surveillance, acne shame) and emotional distress variables (low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, appearance-distress). 116 adults receiving acne treatment completed a series of questionnaires online examining the study variables. Four hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted.
Results: Age and the psychodermatological set of variables contributed a relatively limited proportion of the variance in predicting distress, and only significantly predicted appearance-distress. The general OT set of variables contributed the greatest proportion of the variance, followed by the acne-specific set. Both sets significantly predicted each distress variable. Acne shame was the most important individual predictor. Overall, the relationship patterns between the OT and distress variables provided some tentative support for the OT framework.
Conclusion: The findings question the relative utility of demographic and psychodermatological variables in understanding emotional distress in adult acne, and reveal the importance of OT factors. They demonstrate the relevance of both general and acne-specific OT constructs in predicting distress and therefore the potential utility of OT in this area. The findings also demonstrate the possible promise of applying the OT framework to understand distress in this population.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Nov 2016
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