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Schielein, Maximilian Christian; Tizek, Linda; Baeumer, Daniel; Hillmann, Elena; Romer, Katrin; Wagner, Nicola and Zink, Alexander (2021): People-centered care for psoriasis and urticaria: Are we overlooking Internet addiction while only considering patients and physician settings? In: Journal of Dermatology, Vol. 48, No. 6: pp. 825-834

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Psoriasis and chronic urticaria (CU) are chronic skin diseases with a high impact on individuals' life and mental health. Some studies indicate a high prevalence of Internet addiction and many affected individuals seem not to utilize healthcare, but rather search for health-related information online. The aims of the study were to assess Internet addiction as a potential comorbidity in both diseases as well as identify differences in healthcare utilization between individuals with psoriasis and CU. This cross-sectional study is based on self-reported data from individuals with psoriasis and CU living throughout Germany using the framework of an online survey from 12/2018 to 01/2019. Advertisements on Google and Facebook were used to address Internet users who searched online for information on psoriasis or CU. The study questionnaire comprised questions on demographics, current contact with physicians, and disease history as well as validated screening tools for well-being and Internet addiction. Overall, 1686 participants (74.0% female, 38.5% psoriasis) with a mean age of 36.9 +/- 12.9 years were analyzed. Participants with CU were more likely female (89.2% vs 49.8%, P < 0.001) and not in medical care compared to participants with psoriasis (60.3% vs 45.9%, P < 0.001). Sixteen percent of the participants overall were screened positive for Internet addiction. Furthermore, not utilizing medical care showed a significant association with being screened positive for Internet addiction in participants with CU (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.49, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10-2.02), but not in those with psoriasis. The study revealed a high proportion of affected individuals not being in medical care and a high prevalence of Internet addiction, with individuals with CU not utilizing medical resources having a higher chance of being screened positive for Internet addiction. This underlines the approach of people-centered care and highlights its importance for further research.

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