The effects of stress management on symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, secretory immunoglobulin A, and mood in young adults.J Psychosom Res 2001; 51(6):721-8JP
To investigate the efficacy of a stress management programme on symptoms of colds and influenza in 27 university students before and after the examination period.
The incidence of symptoms, levels of negative affect, and secretion rate of secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) were recorded for 5 weeks before treatment, for the 4 weeks of treatment, and for 8 weeks after treatment in treated subjects and in 25 others who did not participate in stress management.
Symptoms decreased in treated subjects but not in controls during and after the examination period. Although sIgA secretion rate increased significantly after individual sessions of relaxation, resting secretion rate of sIgA did not increase over the course of the study. Negative affect decreased after examinations in both groups, but was not affected by treatment.
Stress management reduced days of illness independently of negative affect and sIgA secretion rate. Although the component of treatment responsible for this effect has yet to be identified, psychological interventions may have a role in reducing symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection.