Psychosocial factors affecting genital herpes recurrences: linear vs mediating models

J Psychosom Res. 1989;33(2):161-6. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(89)90043-3.


Psychosocial factors (emotional distress, stress, health locus of control, and social support) and genital herpes activity (episode frequency, severity, and duration) were assessed for 46 individuals with recurrent genital herpes infections (HSV) in order to predict psychosocial status associated with herpes episodes. Multiple regression analyses revealed that stress and emotional distress accounted for 52% of HSV episode frequency variance, whereas 49% of the episode severity variance was determined by emotional distress and health locus of control. The buffering effects of time and health locus of control were functional only for herpes frequency. Linear predictive models appear to offer a better opportunity for understanding how psychosocial factors affect genital herpes outbreaks than do interactive or buffering models. Results were discussed in terms of the biopsychosocial model of health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / complications
  • Female
  • Herpes Genitalis / etiology
  • Herpes Genitalis / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Recurrence
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Time Factors