Background: Allergy is a multifactorial disease; the role that psychosocial factors may play in the development of allergic symptoms is still unclear. Methods/data base: We compared psychosocial characteristics of allergic and nonallergic individuals on the basis of a representative Hungarian health survey. 10,400 persons aged 16-60 years were interviewed; 17.5% of them (1818 persons) reported allergic symptoms. Psychodiagnostic tests were included in the structured questionnaire. Results: The prevalence of allergic symptoms was higher in women and in people of higher socioeconomic status. Allergic individuals reported more psychological problems: They were more neurotic (Juhasz Neurosis Scale), had more depressive symptoms (shortened Beck Depression Inventory), had higher hostility scores (shortened Cook-Medley Hostility Scale), and reported more conflicts with their social environment compared to the rest of the population. Attitudes (shortened Dysfunctional Attitude Scale) such as perfectionism, need for approval, external control, and need to be loved were also more characteristic. Conclusions: Lifestyle associated with better socioeconomic status might increase the risk of allergic morbidity. According to psychological tests a subgroup of allergic people has high susceptibility to psychiatric problems. The recognition of these problems might have important therapeutic implications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy