Socio-psychological Issues of Adolescents Affected with Leprosy: A Scoping Review
Skin sores, ulcers, nerve weakness, and disfigurement are a few most common leprosy complications when the diagnosis is delayed and not treated timely. The chronic nature of leprosy and the associated risks of deformities make it the most horrifying illness in human history. Although leprosy affects every segment of the population, adolescents and their highly sophisticated social life put them at additional risk and prone to severe socio-psychological problems. This study has systematically collected and reviewed published literature and arranged findings in a single report to provide a comprehensive understanding of adolescents affected by leprosy. Findings indicate that early adolescents are affected mainly compared to children (0-10 years). Household contact is the primary source of infection among adolescents, and changes in daily life, poor wellbeing, the experience of stigma, self-isolation, and reduced social mobility are prominent issues among affected adolescents. Adolescents with one or both parents affected with leprosy showed signs of anxiety, depression, poor academic performance, or dropout. Leprosy among adolescents demands extra attention due to their precarious and unsafe behavioural traits and their comparably extensive peer and social engagements. This review shows that systematic and well planned studies are required on directly or indirectly leprosy affected adolescents to further research relevant issues for defining the problems and finding solutions to various challenges so as to frame effective interventions and policies.