Paper Title
Role of Belief Systems in Enhancing and Mitigating Perceived Stigma in Persons of Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a pigmentary disorder of the human skin, affecting both the genders in equitable manner, across the globe. In India, this disorder is associated with type of Skin color resulting into diverse range of Social stigma, thus affecting quality of life of Persons with Vitiligo (PwV) and their families. This study is aimed at understanding how various socio-cultural beliefs are associated to enhance perceived stigma. This Study also explores how perceived stigma amplifies soon after being diagnosed with vitiligo and also showcases how persons with vitiligo (PwV) of south India, irrespective of their rationality and educational background submit themselves to popular beliefs and perform certain prescribed rituals. In the absence of an established medical explanation and credible treatment to this disorder, various beliefs, perceived stigma and unscientific interventions are all affecting overall quality of life. This study further shows that the convictions and beliefs developed by PwV themselves would help or hinder their coping skills. This is a Qualitative, phenomenological approach to detailed life experiences of persons with vitiligo. Keywords - Vitiligo, Stigma, Perceived, Cultural Beliefs, Illness perception, Customs, Drought, Psychosocial aspects, Skin Color, Pigmentation, Quality of Life, Superstitions, Rituals