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Links Between Anxiety and Allergies: Psychobiological Reality or Possible Methodological Bias?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Alice M. Gregory, Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, Barry J. Milne, Richie Poulton, Malcolm R. Sears

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347 - 362
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number2
PublishedApr 2009

King's Authors


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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