Social sensitivity and acne: The role of personality in negative social consequences and quality of life

Jennifer Krejci-Manwaring, Katherine Kerchner, Steven R. Feldman, Derek A. Rapp, Stephen R. Rapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Acne affects a majority of adolescents and a substantial number of adults. The adverse social impact of acne is well documented. Negative social consequences, however, are likely to be determined by personality features as well as acne severity. Purpose: To determine whether a personality trait - dispositional social sensitivity - is associated with the adverse social impact of acne. Methods: A survey of 479 acne sufferers between the ages of 16 and 62 was conducted in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, United States. Respondents were classified as either high or low social sensitivity and compared on demographic, disease characteristics, and quality of life. Main and interaction effects were evaluated for acne severity and social sensitivity in relation to global and intimate social concerns and social interference. Results: Greater acne severity was significantly associated with poorer social outcomes and quality of life (ps < 0.05). For women, higher social sensitivity was independently associated with poorer outcomes (ps < 0.05), while for men, higher social sensitivity interacted with acne severity and was associated with worse social outcomes and life quality (ps < 0.05). Conclusions: Acne is a biopsychosocial skin condition. Dispositional social sensitivity is an independent psychological factor associated with poorer social functioning and quality of life. Treatment of the acne patient should consider psychosocial factors as well as biological factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-130
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of psychiatry in medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Acne
  • Personality
  • Quality of life
  • Relationships
  • Social sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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