Stigma, participation restriction and mental distress in patients affected by leprosy, cutaneous leishmaniasis and Chagas disease: a pilot study in two co-endemic regions of eastern Colombia

Libardo J. Gómez, Robin van Wijk, Lena van Selm, Alberto Rivera, Martha C. Barbosa, Sandra Parisi, Wim H. van Brakel, Jofren Arevalo, William Quintero, Mitzi Waltz, Karl Philipp Puchner

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Leprosy, cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) and Chagas disease (CD) are neglected tropical diseases with a high psychosocial burden (PSB). These conditions are endemic in Norte de Santander and Arauca in Colombia, but data on the related PSB are scarce. Therefore, we assessed mental distress, participation restriction and stigma among CD, CL and leprosy patients. METHODS: In 2018, 305 leprosy, CD or CL patients were interviewed using a self-report questionnaire to assess mental distress, participation scale for participation restriction and explanatory model interview catalogue (EMIC) for stigma. Descriptive statistics and the significance of median score differences were compared. RESULTS: Fifty percent of CD patients and 49% of leprosy patients exhibited mental distress, percentages which were significantly higher than that of CL (26%). Twenty-seven percent of leprosy patients experienced participation restriction, which was lower for CL (6%) and CD (12%). Median EMIC scores were significantly higher for leprosy patients than for CD (27%) and CL (17%) patients. CONCLUSIONS: We found high levels of PSB among leprosy, CD and CL patients. Mental distress was highest among CD patients. Participation restriction and stigma were more prevalent in leprosy patients. Rural residence or lower educational status may impact PSB. Further investigation is needed to formulate evidence-based, holistic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-482
Number of pages7
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume114
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Chagas disease
  • cutaneous leishmaniasis
  • leprosy
  • mental health
  • social participation
  • stigmatization

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