TitlePsychological distress and infectious disease mortality in the general population.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsHamer, M, Kivimäki, M, Stamatakis, E, Batty, GD
JournalBrain Behav Immun
Date Published02/2019

There is a paucity of studies examining the relation between high psychological distress and infectious disease in the general population. We examined this association in a large multi-cohort study drawn from the general population. The analytic sample comprised 104,923 men and women (age, 47.3 ± 17.4 year; 45.7% men) in which psychological distress symptoms was assessed using the 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire. There were 1535 deaths attributed to infectious diseases during 971,220 person-years of follow up (mean 9.3; range 0.1-17.1 years). A dose-response association between GHQ-12 score and all infectious disease mortality was observed after adjusting for age, sex, survey year, occupational social class, longstanding illness, smoking, alcohol, and physical activity (per SD increase, hazard ratio = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.20-1.28). A similar pattern was apparent for viral infections (1.23; 1.14, 1.33) and pneumonia (1.20; 1.13, 1.28), but weaker for bacterial infections (1.09; 1.00, 1.19). In conclusion, psychological distress is associated with higher risk of infectious disease.

Alternate JournalBrain Behav. Immun.
PubMed ID30579940
Grant ListMR/K013351/1 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom