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J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc. 2010 Sep;49(5):492-499. Korean. Original Article.
Kang JM , Kim SY , Han DH , Joo SY , Lee YS .
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea. hawkeyelys@hanmail.net
Soye Psychiatric Clinic, Namyangju, Korea.
Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Recent studies have suggested that the personality and communication style of the mother can affect the progress of disease in children with chronic illnesses. The current study assessed the characteristics, attachment type and communication skill of mothers who have children with alopecia areata that may concern their children. METHODS: The subjects of this study were 46 mothers of children with alopecia areata (alopecia children: mean age 7.52+/-3.41yrs ; 27 males, 19 females), who visited the alopecia clinic at the Dermatology Department of Chung-Ang University Hospital, and 42 mothers of normal children (control children : mean age 6.85+/-0.46 yrs; 20 males, 22 females). The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) subscale, the Revised Adult Attachment Scale (RAAS), the Parent Adolescent Communication Inventory (PACI), and the Campbell Index of Well-Being were administered to all the subjects for the purpose of comparing the mothers of the alopecia group with those of the normal controls. RESULTS: There were no differences in socio-demographic characteristics between the alopecia and control group mothers. The MMPI scores of both groups were within the normal profile ranges, but the scores of the mothers in the alopecia areata group were significantly lower than those in the control group mothers on the Pd(4), Mf(5), and Ma(9) subscales (p=0.028, p=0.001, p=0.005 respectively). There were significant differences in communication style between the two groups. Alopecia group mothers showed less open family communication (p=0.034) and more problems in family communication (p=0.000) than the control group mothers. The scores on problems in family communication were positively correlated with Pd(4) scores (r=0.48, p=0.03). An insecure attachment style was more common in the alopecia group mothers than in control group mothers (p=0.023). There was no difference between the two groups of mothers on the Index of Well-Being. CONCLUSION: Compared with the mothers of control group children, the mothers of children with alopecia areata had more depressed and suppressed personality characteristics not expressing their psychological conflicts directly (low Pd, Mf, and Ma scores), more problems in family communication with their children and more insecure attachment type. We suggest that these results should be considered in the treatment of children with alopecia, and that psychological intervention for their mothers is needed.

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