• Vitiligo linked to stigmatization in British South Asian women: a qualitative study of the experiences of living with vitiligo.

      Thompson, A.R.; Clarke, S.A.; Newell, Robert J.; Gawkrodger, D.J.; Appearance Research Collaboration (2010)
      Background Vitiligo is a visible condition that is more noticeable in darker-skinned people. Beliefs about illness have been linked to psychosocial adjustment. There is some evidence that such beliefs may be influenced by cultural factors. Surprisingly little is known about beliefs in relation to vitiligo. Objectives The study sought to explore in depth the ways in which British Asian women manage and adjust psychosocially to vitiligo, and the potential role of ethnicity and culture in this process. Methods In-depth semistructured interviews were conducted with seven British women of South Asian decent and analysed using the qualitative method of template analysis. Results Participants described feeling visibly different and all had experienced stigmatization to some extent. Avoidance and concealment were commonplace. Experiences of stigmatization were often perceived to be associated with cultural values related to appearance, status, and myths linked to the cause of the condition. Conclusions The findings of this study present a unique in-depth analysis of British South Asians living with vitiligo and suggest there is a need for further research to explore cultural associations of disfigurement and of adjustment to chronic skin conditions. Furthermore, they suggest that in addition to individual therapeutic interventions there may be a need for community interventions aimed at dispelling myths and raising awareness of sources of support and treatment.