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Acne and alexithymia

        In psychotherapeutic clinic, patients without acne marks report this experience with great emotional charge; this prompted us the interest in identifying what makes acne to be lived as a trauma. Observation, reflection, and bibliographical review led us to affirm that, in individuals with acne or who have had acne, it is expected to find: decrease in quality of dermatologic life; increasing levels of depression, anxiety, and/or stress; strategies of coping; disturbance in the capacity for symbolizing and modulating affective experiences, characteristic of alexithymic individuals. In study I, we used a qualitative approach: 45 semistructured interviews to patients with/or who had acne and to 30 health care professionals. Content analysis of the results of this preliminary work enabled the construction of the ICA - Inventory of beliefs and behaviors about Acne and its treatment. In study II, we applied a quantitative methodology to a pilot sample (N = 367), with a protocol that includes a preliminary version of ICA, IQV-D, Brief Cope, EADS 21 and TAS-20. This application justified the restructuring of the protocol, to be applied to university students in study III (N = 1666). In study IV took part 95 dermatologists who answered the questions on acne beliefs in ICA. These were compared with the data of studies II and III. In study V, a comparative analysis of the different studies will be made. Data point to the existence of a relationship between having acne or having had acne and psychological condition and the individual behaviors. In particular, the present work reveals an association between moderate and severe acne and alexithymia, which, without being surprising, is poorly reported.
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