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Associations between adjustment disorder and hospital-based infections in the Danish population

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Objective: There is some evidence that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with increased risk of infections, and it is unknown whether adjustment disorder is as well. We assessed the association between adjustment disorder and subsequent infections, and assessed additive interaction with sex. Methods: The study population included a nationwide cohort of all Danish-born residents of Denmark diagnosed with adjustment disorder between 1995 and 2011, and an age- and sex-matched general population comparison cohort. We compared rates of infections requiring inpatient or outpatient hospitalization in the two cohorts. We fit Cox proportional hazards models to compute adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) for the associations between adjustment disorder and 32 types of infections, and calculated interaction contrasts to assess interaction between adjustment disorder and sex. Results: Adjustment disorder was associated with increased rates of infections overall (n = 19,838 infections, aHR = 1.8, 95% confidence interval = 1.8. 1.9), and increased rates of each individual infection type (aHRs for 30 infections ranged from 1.5 to 2.3), adjusting for baseline psychiatric and somatic comorbidities and marital status. For many infection types (e.g., skin infections, pneumonia), interaction contrasts indicated rate differences were greater among men than women, while for two (urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections), rate differences were greater for women. Conclusions: These findings are consistent with studies examining the relationship between psychological stress and infections, and between PTSD and infections. They may be explained by a combination of the triggering of unhealthy behaviors as well as immune responses to stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109976
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume132
Number of pages7
ISSN0022-3999
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Adjustment disorder, Chronic stress, Cohort study, Immune dysregulation, Infections, Psychological stress, Stress disorders

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