Depression and Allergies: Survey of a Nonclinical PopulationBell I.R.a · Jasnoski M.L.b · Kagan J.c · King D.S.d
aHarvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.; bGeorge Washington University Department of Psychology, Washington, D.C.; cHarvard University Department of Psychology and Social Relations, Cambridge, Mass., and dVeterans Administration Medical Center West Los Angeles, Psychology Service, Los Angeles, Calif., USA
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The possible association between depression and type I allergies (i.e. immunoglobulin E-mediated hay fever, asthma, eczema, hives) was examined in a nonclinical sample of 379 college students. Measures included self-reports of depression, tiredness, fearfulness, allergic disorders, and environmental allergens and irritants. Seventy-one percent of the subjects who had ever received a professional diagnosis of depression also indicated a history of allergy; those with greater self-rated current depression overall reported a significantly higher prevalence of asthma (p < 0.05). Type I allergic (43%) and nonallergic subjects did not differ in self-rated frequency of depression, fatigue, or anxiety. However, type I subjects reported significantly worse mood after the flu than did nonallergic subjects (p < 0.001). The data support the hypothesis that individuals prone to clinical depression have more allergies than nondepressives. Allergies may experience more postflu mood worsening but not current depression in comparison with nonallergics.
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