Vitiligo Impact Patient Scale (VIPs) is a rating scale that assesses the psychosocial impact of vitiligo. Since vitiligo has a major impact on an individual’s quality of life, a vitiligo-specific quality of life instrument exists to fulfill the need for an independent measure of the psychosocial burden.
The scale consists of a vitiligo-specific burden questionnaire. The number of questions featured in the questionnaire can be expanded as much as possible to touch various aspects of health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
In the standard score, 0 on the VIPs represents no effect and 110 ‘maximal burden’ for fair-skinned patients and 130 ‘maximal burden’ for dark-skinned patients. Finally, to allow a comparison between fair and dark skin prototype, researchers have been proposing to report scoring as a score out of 100.
Vitiligo Impact Patient Scale – An Introduction
The concept of psychological burden has played an increasingly important role in evaluating the care of the chronic skin disorder. The notion of burden has recently been extended to individuals with vitiligo and their families, to assess disability in a broad sense. This burden considers not only the health-related quality of life but also emotional state, social integration, everyday-life organization, and the use of medical resources like consultations and medication.
A few years back, no tool was available for assessing the burden experienced by people living with vitiligo. Developing such a tool was essential for clinicians and patients alike, to allow them for an evaluation of the impact of vitiligo treatment. Therefore, the Vitiligo Impact Patient Scale (VIPs), in the form of a vitiligo-specific burden questionnaire was formed.
Components of the Vitiligo Impact Patient Scale
To access the psychological burden of living with vitiligo, patients should answer honestly about the questions related to:
- The feeling of being discouraged by vitiligo
- The changes in physical appearance
- Discrimination at the workplace
- The difficulty of initiating intimate relationships
- The general feeling of unease
- The financial burden related to the visual difference
Questions touching upon these aspects of HRQOL can be reorganized and grouped according to their content, and further, be reduced in the context of a research study. Some of the most asked questions from VIPs include:
- I feel discouraged because of my vitiligo
- I experience my vitiligo as a daily handicap
- Passing my vitiligo on to my children makes me anxious
- I feel a sense of abandonment because of my vitiligo
- I have learned to live with my vitiligo
- My vitiligo has a negative impact on my sexual desire
- The stares I get from people because of my dappled skin are hard to bear
- Questions about my vitiligo bother/disturb me
- I make sacrifices to afford my vitiligo treatments
- My reflection in the mirror makes me anxious
- I have had to change my vacations, leisure activities because of my vitiligo
- Managing my vitiligo daily is a burden
- I tend to withdraw into myself as a result of my vitiligo
- The progression of my vitiligo makes me anxious
- The looks in my loved ones’ eyes are difficult to bear
- I sometimes feel like giving up
- I often think that my life would have been very different without vitiligo
- I am ashamed of the consequences of my vitiligo
- I worry that my vitiligo will spread
- I am not comfortable talking to people about my vitiligo
- I feel that medicine has abandoned me
- I dread first meetings because of my vitiligo
- The looks I get from kids because of my vitiligo are outright hurtful
- Undergoing any treatment for vitiligo is a burden
Depending on the answers to the respective questions and weightage given to them, an individual’s VIPs is calculated. Since the number of questions mentioned in VIPs’ questionnaire may vary from the context of use, different researchers use different methods to calculate the Vitiligo Impact Patient Scale.
Having said that, to increase the use of VIPs in vitiligo related studies, researchers around the world need to standardize the methodology and number of questions featured in Vitiligo Impact Patient Scale.