Psychosocial Risk Factors for Upper Respiratory Infection: Personality Predictors of URI (Upper Respiratory Illness) during Basic Training
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Neuroticism and introversion have been linked to greater susceptibility to infections. This study examined personality correlations of upper respiratory illness URI in three samples of Navy recruits during military basic training, a setting with standardized living and working conditions and high rates of URI. Neuroticism was related to URI average r . 165 as were two of its component facets, Anxiety average r .141 and Depression Average r .151. Introversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness did not produce correlations reliably in excess of .100. A partial correlation analysis controlling for general symptom reporting tendencies produced much smaller associations partial r .111, .096, and .096, respectively. Interactions among personality attributes and between personality and health history variables did not improve the prediction of URI. Neuroticism and conscientiousness were stronger predictors of health history than of acute URI, The findings were consistent with a psychobiological model which asserts that personality is weakly related to acute illness because it is only one of several factors that influence acute psychological states that are more immediate precursors of illness, but that personality is a stronger predictor of long-term health trends reflecting the cumulative effects of personality across a number of different situations.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Medicine and Medical Research