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Free Content Psychosocial factors and susceptibility to or outcome of acute respiratory tract infections [Review article]

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OBJECTIVE: To perform a systematic review of the literature to assess the possible effect that psychosocial variables may have on the susceptibility and/or outcome of acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs).

METHODS: We performed searches for relevant studies on PubMed, Scopus and PsychInfo.

RESULTS: We identified 44 studies published between 1986 and 2008, examining the role of psychosocial variables and the onset or progression of ARTI. Of these 44 studies, 41 (93.1%) showed at least one statistically significant association between psychosocial variables and susceptibility to ARTI; 20 (45.5%) revealed at least one statistically significant association between psychosocial variables and outcome of ARTI. Variables associated with susceptibility to and outcome of infection were higher levels of perceived stress, negative affect, anxiety and depression. Negative life events were associated with susceptibility to infection.

CONCLUSION: Most of the relevant studies show a significant relationship between psychosocial factors and the onset or progression of acute respiratory tract illness. However, the psychosocial variables were not consistently evaluated across the included studies, and different methodological approaches were used to examine the association between psychosocial factors and acute respiratory tract illness.
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Keywords: acute respiratory tract infection; progression; psychosocial variables

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Athens, Greece; Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; and Department of Medicine, Henry Dunant Hospital, Athens, Greece 2: Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Athens, Greece 3: Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Athens, Greece; and Department of Medicine, Henry Dunant Hospital, Athens, Greece

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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