The effect of social adversity on the fatigue syndrome, psychiatric disorders & physical recovery, following glandular fever

Two hundred and fifty patients attending primary care with glandular

fever or an upper respiratory tract infection were studied

prospectively up to 6 months after onset. Of these patients

228 were interviewed with the Life Events and Difficulties

Schedule and the Schedule for Affective Disorders and

Schzophrenia, giving Research Diagnostic Criteria for

psychiatric disorders. The experience of severe social

adversity (provoking agents) had a significant association

with psychiatric disorder at 2 months (odds ratio = 5.3) and 6

months (odds ratio = 5.8) after onset of infection. This

association was especially significant for depressive illness

(odds ratio = 9.1 at 2 months and 11.9 at 6 months). In

contrast, social adversity had little association with the

development of the post-infectious fatigue syndrome, or

delayed physical recovery. Social adversity may be an

important maintaining factor for psychiatric disorders,

especially depressive illness, following acute infections.

Bruce-Jones WD, White PD, Thomas JM, Clare AW

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