Exploration of Young Adult’s Perception of Skin Colour and Mental Health Deterioration: A Qualitative Study


  • Sidra Mumtaz Department of Psychology, Foundation University Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Hafsa Khalil Toor Department of Psychology, Foundation University Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Saba Khurshid Department of Research & Development, Armed Forces Post Graduate Medical Institute/National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) Rawalpindi Pakistan
  • Farrah Pervaiz Department of Public Health, Armed Forces Post Graduate Medical Institute/National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) Rawalpindi Pakistan




Mental health, Perception, Skin colour, Skin-lightening products, Young adults


Objective: To explore the perception regarding skin colour and decline in mental health due to an increased obsession with
fair complexion among young adults, specifically in Pakistan.

Study Design: Exploratory study.

Place and Duration of Study: Public and Private Universities of Islamabad/Rawalpindi Pakistan, from Jun to Aug 2022.

Methodology: Three independent focus group discussions were carried out with young adults (aged 18-35). Focus group
discussions were recorded and transcribed by keeping in mind the ethical consideration. Moreover, two interviews, one with
the dermatologist and the other with the beautician, were also conducted to gain more information. The data was gathered
and transcribed and then, themes emerged by using Thematic Analysis. Inter-rater reliability of themes was computed by four independent raters which were found to be substantial for focus groups and each interview.

Results: The results reveal major themes that emerged from the present study, which influenced young adults' perception
regarding skin colour and damaged their mental health. New dimensions were revealed in which both males and females
were studied, which had not previously been explored in Pakistan.

Conclusion: This study identifies those factors contributing to the deteriorating mental health of a person related to skin
colour and mental health professionals. The Young adults of Pakistan are dissatisfied and preoccupied with the notion of
perfect skin colour, which leads them to opt for different unhealthy means to beautify themselves and damaging their mental health.


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How to Cite

Mumtaz, S., Hafsa Khalil Toor, Khurshid, S., & Farrah Pervaiz. (2024). Exploration of Young Adult’s Perception of Skin Colour and Mental Health Deterioration: A Qualitative Study. Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal, 74(1), 80–84. https://doi.org/10.51253/pafmj.v74i1.9628



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