Stress as a precipitating factor in subjects with recurrent herpes labialis

D. D. Schmidt, S. Zyzanski, J. Ellner, M. L. Kumar, J. Arno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The model of recurrent herpes labialis was selected to evaluate the role played by stress in increasing susceptibility to illness. Initially, 35 paid volunteers with recurrent herpes were enrolled in the project. Compared with 35 age- and sex-matched controls, this group demonstrated a familial predisposition for recurrent herpes labialis. Eighteen subjects without confounding variables known to precipitate recurrent herpes infections completed a pretested 'stress' questionnaire during a dormant and again during an active stage of infection. In the week prior to the appearance of a recurrence, this group experienced (1) increased daily hassles, (2) increased stressful life events, and (3) higher state anxiety. These findings are discussed in the broader context of stress-associated disease with some speculations concerning a possible biologic mechanism, which involves modulations of T-lymphocyte function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-366
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Family Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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