Psychosomatic factors and their association with dermatological disorders are well recognized, yet their importance in oral lichen planus (OLP) is still debated. This study was done to determine the importance of psychosocial stressors in patients with OLP.
An analytical age-sex matched double controlled study. Stratified serial random sampling was done for sample selection. The experimental group consisted of biopsy proven OLP subjects (n = 41), negative control consisted of apparently healthy general Out Patient Department (OPD) patients (n = 73) and positive controls were patients with burning mouth syndrome, atypical facial pain and myofacial pain dysfunction syndrome (n = 36). The General Health Questionnaire-version 28 (GHQ-28) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were used to evaluate psychosocial stressors in terms of stress, anxiety and depression respectively.
The OLP patients had significantly higher stress (Z = 4.331; p < 0.05, significant), anxiety (Z = 4.260; p < 0.05, significant) and depression levels (Z = 4.942; p < 0.05, significant) than the negative controls when measured by GHQ and HADS respectively. Similar findings were noted between the two control groups, with higher stress (Z = 5.784; p < 0.05, significant), anxiety (Z = 6.416; p < 0.05, significant), and depression (Z = 4.841; p < 0.05, significant) levels in the positive control group. However, differences in stress (Z = 2.0416; p > 0.05, non-significant), anxiety (Z = 1.681; p > 0.05, non-significant) and depression levels (Z = 0.195; p > 0.05, non-significant) were found to be non-significant between OLP and positive control.
Significantly higher stress, anxiety and depression levels were found in the OLP and positive control than the general population. No significant difference was noted between the OLP and the positive controls (in which psychosocial stressors are the sole etiology). These suggest that psychological stressors play an important role in the causation of OLP. It may be further hypothesized that these stressors form a starting point for the initiation of various autoimmune reactions, which have been shown to be contributory to the pathogenesis of OLP. Further longitudinal studies need to be done globally before definitive conclusions can be drawn.