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J Pers. 2009 Apr;77(2):347-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2008.00550.x. Epub 2009 Feb 2.

Links between anxiety and allergies: psychobiological reality or possible methodological bias?

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Psychology Department, Goldsmiths College, University of London, Lewisham Way, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW.


The objective of the study was to examine the link between anxiety and allergies to establish whether it reflects a psychobiological reality or a possible methodological bias. A cohort of 1,037 children enrolled in the study. Anxiety disorders were assessed between 11 and 21 years. Anxious personality was assessed at 18 years. Allergies were examined at 21 years by (a) self reports, (b) skin pricks, and (c) serum total immunoglobulin E (IgE). Self-reported allergies were predicted by recurrent anxiety disorders (OR [95% CI]=1.56 [1.06-2.30], p=.023) and self-reports of anxious personality (OR [95% CI]=1.67 [1.17-2.37], p=.004): Objectively verified allergies were not. These results suggest that the link between anxiety and allergies may reflect a methodological artifact rather than a psychobiological reality.

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