High levels of stress go along with more skin symptoms: a study in German students


  • C. Schut
  • S. Kottlors
  • U. Gieler
  • J. Kupfer


Background: Stress and skin symptoms are related in skin patients and healthy controls. In a recent study, US students with high stress levels reported oily/ waxy/ flaky patches on the scalp, scaly skin, itchy rashes on their hands and itch in general more often than lowly stressed students. The current study is the first to investigate this relationship in German students. Methods: In this web-based questionnaire study, the stress level and skin symptoms during the last four weeks were assessed in 794 students by means of the Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ) and a modified version of the Self-Reported Skin Questionnaire. Students were divided into lowly and highly stressed students (LSS vs. HSS) by determination of the 25th and 75th percentile of the PSQ index. Odds ratios were determined to compare LSS and HSS regarding the occurrence of skin problems. Findings: 207 students were regarded as LSS, 201 as HSS. They did neither differ in gender distribution nor age (p > 0.05). HSS reported to suffer from itch, oily/waxy/flaky patches on the scalp, scaly skin, itchy rash on hands, other rash on face, dry/sore rash, pimples and warts more often than LSS (all p < 0.05). Discussion: This study replicated the findings of a recent US study: Stress and skin problems are related in students. Next, it would be interesting to compare the US and German samples regarding their stress levels, the intensity of the skin symptoms and the size of the relationship between stress levels and skin symptoms.





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