Stressful life events can trigger asthma exacerbations, but could also contribute to the development of incident asthma. Stress-related personality traits (e.g. neuroticism and extroversion) may increase asthma risk.
A population-based sample of 5114 middle-aged adults completed questionnaires between 1992 and 1995 -- 4010 (83%) were followed-up by questionnaires in 2002-2003.
High neuroticism predisposed to developing asthma (RR = 3.07) but high extroversion did not. Having broken off a life partnership increased asthma risk (RR = 2.24) but death of a close person or unemployment did not.
The authors concluded that high levels of neuroticism may increase the risk of asthma in middle-aged adults. Having broken off a life partnership was the only stressful event, which was associated with incident asthma.
Interpersonal conflicts may increase asthma risk, possibly along an immunological pathway.
Neuroticism, extraversion, stressful life events and asthma: a cohort study of middle-aged adults. Loerbroks A, Apfelbacher CJ, Thayer JF, Debling D, Stürmer T. Allergy. 2009 Feb 25.
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