TOPICOP©: A New Scale Evaluating Topical Corticosteroid Phobia among Atopic Dermatitis Outpatients and Their Parents

Mar, 05/08/2014 - 14:45


Leïla Moret, Emmanuelle Anthoine, Hélène Aubert-Wastiaux, Anne Le Rhun, Christophe Leux, Juliette Mazereeuw-Hautier, Jean-François Stalder, Sébastien Barbarot mail

Published: October 16, 2013; Source:





The fear of using topical corticosteroids, usually called topical corticophobia, is a frequent concern for atopic dermatitis patients and/or their parents. Assessing patients’ atopic dermatitis and their parents’ topical corticosteroid phobia is an essential step to improving adherence to treatment. Because topical corticophobia appears to be a complex phenomenon, its evaluation by binary responses (yes/no) is too simplistic. Thus, a scale is needed, which is capable of identifying the subtleties of topical corticosteroid phobia.



To develop and validate a scale, TOPICOP©, measuring worries and beliefs about topical corticosteroids among atopic dermatitis outpatients and their parents.


An initial statistical validation of TOPICOP was carried out, collecting qualitative data about patients’ topical corticophobia behaviors and beliefs using focus-group methodology. Then, 208 outpatients or their parents from five French centers completed a self-administered questionnaire built from focus-group results. The scale-development process comprised an explanatory principal component analysis, Cronbach’s a-coefficients and structural equation modeling.


The validated questionnaire comprised 12 items, covering two important dimensions relative to “worries” (6 items) and “beliefs” (6 items). Psychometric properties showed that items had very good communality (>0.60) within their own dimension. The final two-factor solution accounted for 47.3% of the variance. Cronbach’s a-coefficients were, respectively, 0.79 and 0.78. Structural equation modeling strongly supported the possibility of calculating a global score.


TOPICOP© is the first scale aimed at assessing topical corticophobia in adult patients and parents of children with eczema. TOPICOP® has excellent psychometric properties and should be easy to use in everyday clinical practice for clinicians and researchers. Further studies are needed to confirm our results and validate TOPICOP© in other cultures.

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