Psychological job demands as a risk factor for common cold in a Dutch working population

J Psychosom Res. 2001 Jan;50(1):21-7. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(00)00212-9.


Objective: We investigated the effect of Psychological Job Demands (PJD) on the occurrence of the clinical symptoms of common cold.

Methods: Subjects, participating in a large prospective cohort study on psychological determinants of fatigue at work, were asked to fill in a questionnaire on the occurrence of common cold during the previous four months. High PJD were considered as a potential risk factor. Other factors such as age, gender, and having young children were considered as potential confounders.

Results: In logistic regression analysis, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for having a recent cold in subjects reporting high PJD vs. those reporting low PJD was 1.20 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.08-1.33). A higher risk emerged among those with young children (OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.47-1.96), those having a history of asthma (OR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.28-2.22), or being under the age of 40 (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.14-1.43) and among smokers (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.09-1.38).

Conclusion: The results support an association between PJD and common cold. In spite of the almost inevitable shortcoming of a large cohort study using questionnaires, this study gave us the opportunity to study the relationship between common cold and work-related factors in a nonexperimental setting with participants observed in a natural environment with all the normal everyday hassles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Common Cold / epidemiology*
  • Common Cold / psychology*
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Assessment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires