Vitiligo and depression: an observational study in patients attending tertiary care centre


  • Preetam Singh Katroliya Department of Dermatology, SRVS Medical College, Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Devesh Vyas Department of Psychiatry, SRVS Medical College, Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Deepak Argal Department of Dermatology, SRVS Medical College, Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Nishant Patel Department of Psychiatry, SRVS Medical College, Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, India



Depression, Vitiligo, DQLI, Vasi, Phq-9


Background: Vitiligo, a chronic skin disorder characterized by depigmentation and white patch formation, not only poses a cosmetic challenge but also imposes a significant psychological burden. The relationship between vitiligo and depression remains underexplored, despite growing recognition of their potential association. This observational study aimed to investigate the prevalence of depression and assess the quality of life (QoL) among patients with vitiligo attending a tertiary care center.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at the dermatology and psychiatry departments of SRVS Medical College, Shivpuri, involving 150 vitiligo patients aged 18 to 60 years. Participants were assessed using the patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9), vitiligo area scoring index (VASI), and dermatology life quality index (DLQI). Statistical analyses were performed using statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) version 26.

Results: The mean age of participants was 38.55±14.82 years, with 69.3% being female. Nonsegmental vitiligo accounted for 84% of cases, and 42.6% had active disease. The mean DLQI score was 8.45±6.12, with female gender and active disease significantly associated with lower QoL scores. A strong correlation was observed between depressive symptoms and impaired QoL (DLQI). The prevalence of depression (PHQ-9 score ≥9) was 14.6%, with employed individuals showing a significantly higher prevalence compared to other groups.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight the significant burden of depression and impaired QoL among vitiligo patients attending a tertiary care center. Addressing the psychosocial aspects of vitiligo alongside its dermatological manifestations is crucial for optimizing patient care and enhancing overall well-being. Further longitudinal research is warranted to elucidate the complex relationship between vitiligo and depression.


Grimes PE, Miller MM. Vitiligo: Patient stories, self-esteem, and the psychological burden of disease. Int J Women’s Dermatol. 2018;4(1):32-7.

Chen J, Li S, Li C. Mechanisms of melanocyte death in Vitiligo. Medicinal Research Reviews. 2020;41(2):1138-66.

Salama AH, Alnemr L, Khan AR, Alfakeer H, Aleem Z, Ali-Alkhateeb M. Unveiling the unseen struggles: A comprehensive review of Vitiligo’s psychological, social, and quality of life impacts. Cureus. 2023;45030.

Alharbi M. Identifying patients at higher risk of depression among patients with vitiligo at outpatient setting. Materia Socio Medica. 2020;32(2):108.

Nasser MA, Raggi El Tahlawi SM, Abdelfatah ZA, Soltan MR. Stress, anxiety, and depression in patients with Vitiligo. Middle East Current Psychiatry. 2021;28(1).

Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB. The PHQ-9: validity of a brief depression severity measure. J Gen Intern Med. 2001;16(9):606-13.

Kawakami T, Hashimoto T. Disease severity indexes and treatment evaluation criteria in vitiligo. Dermatol Res Pract. 2011;2011:750342.

Finlay AY, Khan GK. Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI)--a simple practical measure for routine clinical use. Clin Exp Dermatol. 1994;19(3):210-6.

Kanji A. Perspective on Living With a Skin Condition and its Psychological Impact: A Survey. J Patient Exp. 2019;6(1):68-71.

Germain N, Augustin M, François C, Legau K, Bogoeva N, Desroches M, et al. Stigma in visible skin diseases – a literature review and development of a conceptual model. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2021;35(7):1493-504.

Yang YT, Hsu CH, Wang YF, Chang YJ, Yang HJ, Ko JL, et al. Worsening Quality of Life in Young Adult, Highly Educated, and Married Female Patients with Vitiligo: A Hospital-Based Case Control Study in Taiwan. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(11):6741.

Borimnejad L, Parsa Yekta Z, Nikbakht-Nasrabadi A, Firooz A. Quality of life with vitiligo: Comparison of male and female Muslim patients in Iran. Gender Med. 2006;3(2):124-30.

Sangma LN, Nath J, Bhagabati D. Quality of life and psychological morbidity in vitiligo patients: a study in a teaching hospital from north-East India. Indian J Dermatol. 2015;60(2):142-6.

Karelson M, Silm H, Kingo K. Quality of life and emotional state in vitiligo in an Estonian sample: comparison with psoriasis and healthy controls. Acta Derm Venereol. 2013;93:446-50.

Kota RS, Vora RV, Varma JR, Kota SK, Patel TM, Ganjiwale J. Study on Assessment of Quality of Life and Depression in Patients of Vitiligo. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2019;10(2):153-7.

Ezzedine K, Eleftheriadou V, Jones H, Bibeau K, Kuo FI, Sturm D, et al. Psychosocial Effects of Vitiligo: A Systematic Literature Review. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2021;22(6):757-74.




How to Cite

Katroliya, P. S., Vyas, D., Argal, D., & Patel, N. (2024). Vitiligo and depression: an observational study in patients attending tertiary care centre. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 12(6), 2029–2033.



Original Research Articles