Is Depression Higher in Patients with Vitiligo?

vitiligoDepression is common among individuals with vitiligo, according to the results of a recent meta-analysis.


For their analysis, the researchers identified and evaluated 965 participants from 20 eligible cohorts, with sample sizes ranging from 30 to 308 participants for each analysis. Data were obtained through a systematic literature search of online databases.

Different evaluation methods were used to pool the proportions and mean questionnaire values for depression. In controlled studies, odds ratios (OR) and standardized mean differences (SMD) were calculated to assess the prevalence of depression in individuals with vitiligo vs healthy controls.

Results of the analysis indicated that the pooled prevalence of depression across 17 unique populations (n = 1711) was 29%. Based on criteria set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM IV) or the International Classification of Diseases codes-10 (ICD-10), the prevalence of clinical depression was 8%. Through validated screening inventory and rating scales, the prevalence of depressive symptoms was 33%.

Ultimately, vitiligo patients had a 4.96-times higher risk of depression vs controls. According to subgroup analysis, the prevalence of depression was significantly higher in Asian and female patients with vitiligo compared with Caucasian and male patients with the condition.

The researchers noted that the pooled prevalence of depressive symptoms had been higher and the heterogeneity had been lower in cases where the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) questionnaire was used vs other questionnaires.

“This meta-analysis review indicates that the prevalence of depression is high in vitiligo patients,” the researchers concluded. “The HDRS questionnaire may be the most sensitive tool for testing the depressive symptoms among vitiligo patients.”

—Christina Vogt


Wang G, Qiu D, Yang H, Liu W. The prevalence and odds of depression in patients with vitiligo: a meta-analysis [Published online December 9, 2017]. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. doi:10.1111/jdv.14739.