The psychological effects of androgenetic alopecia are the subject of study today.
Hair loss is a problem that can cause a lot of stress and even depression in people who suffer from it. In this article we are going to talk about the psychological consequences associated with hair loss.
La androgenetic alopecia is a common condition. After the 30 years., 30% of men suffer from a certain degree of alopecia and when they reach 50 years. half of men have alopecia problems. It should be noted that androgenetic alopecia not properly a disease. Rather it is a undesirable characteristic The Center alters people's appearance and what can affect the patient on a psychological and social level, reducing their quality of life.
What is the sociocultural meaning of hair and Hair loss?
Hair is an important part of appearance of the person, in addition to being a determinant of physical attractiveness. Throughout history, a abundant hairIs associated with health, youth and power. Few societies consider baldness as a desirable feature. In fact there is a symbolic relationship between hair and power. This relationship is exemplified in the biblical story of Samson and Delilah. A man who lost his hair, lost his strength, masculinity and power. In many cultures, shaving the head is used as symbol of submission or subjugation to an authority. For example, cadets or prisoners they are forced to razor your head the monks y priests that are shaved as an act of submission to God.
The hair is the only malleable body part, which can be modified at will. That is why, through the centuries, decoration and hair style has served as social media and as a symbol of identity and status.
Unfortunately we live in a society in which the appearance-based stereotypes. In a nutshell "The beautiful is good and the ugly is bad." There have been some scientific studies addressing this topic.
- In one of the first studies, drawings of bald men with hair were used and it was evaluated how they were perceived by others. It was found that bald men are perceived as weak, inactive, less powerful, unkind, bad, ugly. While men with hair are perceived as handsome, manly and attractive. Although not everything was bad for bald men, as they were perceived as more stable, conscious and intelligent. However, men with hair were seen as attractive, personable and younger.
- Another study was carried out showing photographs instead of drawings. Bald men were found to be perceived as older and less physically and socially attractive. The only feature not seen to be undervalued by baldness was the intelligence of the person.
- It has been shown that appearance-based stereotypes shape the how we treat others, that is to say the first impression is always important. Even though our impression of someone may change over time, men with baldness are disadvantaged in initial interpersonal interactions. This can affect your social experience and quality of life.
- It is known that physical attributes impact the ability to get a job and even a partner. A curious fact is that most men think that their baldness decreases their chances of getting a partner,but does not impact your ability to get a job. The reality is that more scientific studies are needed to measure the impact of androgenetic alopecia on social interactions.
What is the impact of baldness on self-image and quality of life?
There are not many studies that address scientifically this question. However, those that exist give us an idea of how baldness affects people's quality of life and the psychological effects of androgenetic alopecia.
- Some surveys have shown that baldness is associated with low self-esteem and anxiety.
- In one study, data from a sample of 145 men they were not seeking or receiving medical care for baldness. It was found that between more advanced was baldness more stress was generated, and the patients felt mmore shy, less attractive and discriminated. It was also found that between more advanced was baldness, men will worried more about seeking treatment and they tried harder to try to cover up and hide the problem.
- Another study in the United Kingdom found that bald men they had a lower self esteem, were more Introverts and with a higher incidence of depression.
Speaking specifically women, research has found that alopecia produces negative effects on your daily life, low self-esteem, social difficulties. In fact it has been seen that women with alopecia experience greater affectation in their social interaction, lower self-esteem and greater psychosocial problems than men with this problem.
- This was confirmed in a study that found that women with alopecia experienced lower self-esteem, less psychological well-being and a lower quality of life. Besides that they make more effort that men stop hide the problem. All of this because among women, alopecia is not considered a normal feature, as in the case of men.
Individual differences in the psychological response to hair loss.
Each person reacts differently when faced with a difficult situation. And this is no different for baldness. Some men they are psychologically more affected than others for the problem. Between the factors that contribute to greater involvement are:
- Onset of the problem at an early age (younger than 26 years).
- Not having a stable partner.
- Consider alopecia as a highly visible feature.
- Concern about the progression of the problem.
- Excessive shyness.
- Consider appearance as very important.
In conclusion, further scientific studies are required to evaluate the impact of alopecia on body image, as well as the psychological effects of androgenetic alopecia, on psychological functioning and on the quality of life of patients. Although, it is a reality that most men with the problem suffer, at least moderate stress and a minority of them have a significant reduction in their quality of life. Also is true that affected women For this problem suffer from greater stress and social disability than men.