Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Got kids? Then you're less likely to catch a cold

Date:
July 2, 2012
Source:
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Summary:
Being a parent reduces your risk of catching a cold—possibly because of unknown "psychological or behavioral differences between parents and nonparents," according to a new study.

Healthy family. Being a parent reduces your risk of catching a cold -- possibly because of unknown "psychological or behavioral differences between parents and nonparents."
Credit: © Andres Rodriguez / Fotolia

Being a parent reduces your risk of catching a cold -- possibly because of unknown "psychological or behavioral differences between parents and nonparents," according to a study in the July issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, the official journal of the American Psychosomatic Society.

Related Articles


The risk of becoming ill after exposure to cold viruses is reduced by about half in parents compared to nonparents, regardless of pre-existing immunity, according to research led by Rodlescia S. Sneed, MPH, and Sheldon Cohen, PhD of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. The study suggests that other, yet unknown factors related to being a parent may affect susceptibility to illness.

Being a Parent Protects Against Colds

The researchers analyzed data on 795 adults from three previous studies of stress and social factors affecting susceptibility to the common cold. In those studies, healthy volunteers were given nose drops containing cold-causing rhinovirus or influenza viruses.

After virus exposure, about one-third of volunteers developed clinical colds -- typical symptoms of a cold plus confirmed infection with one of the study viruses. The analysis focused on whether being a parent affected the risk of developing a cold, with adjustment for other factors.

The results showed a lower rate of colds among parents, compared to volunteers who were not parents. In the adjusted analysis, the risk of developing a cold was 52 percent lower for parents.

That might be expected on the basis of immunity -- kids get colds, and parents may develop protective antibodies against the specific viruses causing those colds. However, the lower risk of colds in parents could not be explained by pre-existing immunity, based on levels of antibodies to the study viruses. Parents were less likely to develop colds whether or not they had protective levels of antibodies.

The protective effect of parenthood increased along with the number of children (although there were limited data on parents with three or more children). Parents were at reduced risk of colds even when they didn't live with any of their children. In fact, parents with no children at home had an even larger, 73 percent reduction in risk.

The risk of colds was lower for parents in most age groups. The only exception was parents in the youngest age group -- 18 to 23 years -- for whom the risk of colds was no different than for nonparents. There was no difference in the risk of colds for parents who were married versus unmarried.

Psychological or Behavioral Factors May Play a Role

"We found parenthood predicted a decreased probability of colds among healthy individuals exposed to a cold virus," Sneed and coauthors write. The effect is independent of parental immunity, suggesting that psychological or behavioral factors could be involved.

However, the study permits no conclusions as to what those protective factors might be. One possibility is that being a parent improves regulation of immune factors (cytokines) triggered in response to infection. Previous studies have shown that cytokine responses explain the protective effects of psychological factors -- such as lower stress or a positive attitude -- against cold risk.

But more research will be needed to clarify just how being a parent could affect the body's response to cold viruses. Sneed and colleagues conclude, "Our results, while provocative, have left room for future studies to pursue how various aspects of parenthood (eg, frequency of contact with children, quality of parent/child relationships) might be related to physical health, and how parenthood could 'get under the skin' to influence physical health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "Got kids? Then you're less likely to catch a cold." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120702152647.htm>.
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2012, July 2). Got kids? Then you're less likely to catch a cold. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120702152647.htm
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "Got kids? Then you're less likely to catch a cold." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120702152647.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Parents Less Likely to Develop Colds

July 3, 2012 — There is no question that being a parent is, at times, challenging both physically and mentally. However knowledge of the actual affect parenthood has on health has been inconsistent at best, until ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins