Introduction: For their students, teachers ought to be a showcase of socially-accepted behaviour. Therefore, their proper attitude is of great importance for preventing social exclusion of students with visible skin diseases.
Aims: To study reactions of teachers towards persons with visible skin diseases.
Material and methods: 50 teachers taking part in a course on health education were asked about their immediate emotional reactions while looking at skin changes. Two slides were subsequently displayed: 1st slide presented chronic lichenified eczema of the hand and 2nd - a middle-sized nevus flammeus on the submandibular area.
Results: Sympathy was most often expressed (84% at the 1st slide and 66% at the 2nd), however, it was followed by emotions with negative connotations: pity (respectively: 28%, 32%), fear (20%, 26%), revulsion (18%, 20%), and distaste (15%, 18%). The intention to help was expressed by 42% and 40% teachers, the intention to run away from such persons - by 6% and 2% respectively. The presence of a person with such skin changes in close surroundings would be acceptable to 78% and 72%, but unacceptable to 14% and 26% teachers. 68% teachers declared that they would not know how to deal with skin-ill students.
Conclusions: School teachers are not prepared to deal properly with skin-ill students. Their attitude can also be transferred to healthy students, which may lead to exclusion of skin-ill students and decrease their chances for developing close relations with others. A wide educational action should be undertaken in order to overcome this situation.
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Document created: 17 October 2008, last updated: 4 July 2010.