This attribute concerns the perceived time frame for the development of the condition or threat. Time frames run through all aspects of illness representations and can be crucial with respect to the way that patients label and conceptualise the illness. A patient with newly diagnosed psoriasis may assume from the knowledge that they have gained that the condition is episodic and hence should remit in the near future. This could prompt a set of short-term avoidance behaviours designed to conceal the condition. However, a failure to repigment could result in these avoidant and concealment behaviours becoming ingrained and permanent.
Lau and Hartmann (1983) added curability or controllability to this group of attributes and these attributes can play a crucial role in the way that a person with a skin disease represents and reacts to their condition. There can be a tendency for people to develop and rely on their own lay intuitions as to how their disease started, the factors that exacerbate the disease and how they can best treat their condition (Leventhal et al., 1984; Weinman et al., 1996; Affleck et al., 1997). The importance of understanding patients' illness cognitions cannot be underestimated, and as we will see in the next section, they can play an important role in the way that patients react to instances of felt and actual stigma.
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Do You Suffer From the Itching and Scaling of Psoriasis? Or the Chronic Agony of Psoriatic Arthritis? If so you are not ALONE! A whopping three percent of the world’s populations suffer from either condition! An incredible 56 million working hours are lost every year by psoriasis sufferers according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.