, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 123-128
Date: 17 Jul 2007

Perception and knowledge of a common skin disorder among university students in Jordan

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Abstract

Background

Psoriasis is one of the most common dermatological diseases. Improving public awareness of the different aspects of psoriasis is important to improve the overall knowledge about the disease and enhance public attitude towards sufferers. A sample consisting primarily of university students was undertaken to understand public perception of this disease.

Aims

The objective of this investigation is to assess the level of public awareness of various aspects of psoriasis including possible risk factors, affected body areas, best persons to manage the disease, and other issues.

Methods

Selected individuals of the sample were interviewed by well-trained senior pharmacy students. Each individual was asked to fill in a questionnaire consisting of six sections on his/her knowledge of various aspects of psoriasis.

Results

Of the respondents, 63.8% agreed that psoriasis makes patients’ lives uncomfortable. One third of participants believed that the exact etiology of the disease is still unclear. A positive family history for psoriasis was selected by the highest percentage of respondents as a triggering factor for the disease and the scalp was selected as the major body site affected by psoriatic lesions. Differences in public attitude toward sufferers were detected when results were analyzed according to sample gender, age, nature of job, educational level, and ethnicity. A dermatologist was selected by a clear majority of participants as the best person to treat psoriasis.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that a high degree of public awareness of psoriasis exists among different ethnicities in Jordan. However, community education is needed to improve the population’s knowledge regarding the nature of psoriasis, important risk factors, and the best source of health services. This paper illuminates a perceptual gap between what people think they understand of this disease and the scientific literature.