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Increased psychosocial stress and decreased mucosal immunity in children with recurrent upper respiratory tract infections

Drummond, P.D. and Hewson-Bower, B. (1997) Increased psychosocial stress and decreased mucosal immunity in children with recurrent upper respiratory tract infections. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 43 (3). pp. 271-278.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0022-3999(97)00002-0
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Abstract

The association between psychosocial stress and susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infection was investigated in 45 children with a history of recurrent colds and flu, and in 45 healthy children of similar age and gender distribution. In addition, mucosal immune protection against upper respiratory tract infections was assessed by measuring the concentration of secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) and its ratio to albumin in saliva. Several dimensions of psychosocial stress, including exposure to stressful experiences, stress-prone personality traits, and signs of emotional disturbance were elevated in children with a history of recurrent colds and flu. Furthermore, lower sIgA/albumin ratios in these children indicated a deficiency in local mucosal immunity. Thus, the findings are consistent with the view that psychosocial stress depletes local immune protection against viral invasion or bacterial colonization of the upper respiratory tract; this depletion may increase susceptibility to colds and flu. Alternatively, psychological disturbances could develop in response to frequent illness.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: Elsevier
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/2205
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