Psychosocial and immunological factors in neurasthenia

Yu Ping Cao, Ya Lin Zhang, Doris F. Chang, Guo Qiang Wang, Xiang Hui Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Neurasthenia is a disorder whose pathogenesis is still unknown. Objective: The authors sought to examine the relationships between neurasthenia and possible psychosocial and immunological correlates. Method: A sample of 30 Chinese neurasthenic patients was compared with a matched sample of 30 control subjects for 1) the level of serum Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) gamma G immunoglobulin (IgG) and gamma M immunoglobulin (IgM); 2) scores on the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ); 3) the Symptom Checklist-90; and 4) the Life Event Scale (LES); 27 of the 30 neurasthenia patients were treated with medication and psychotherapy for a 4-month period, with measures taken pre- and posttreatment. Results: As compared with the control group, neurasthenic patients exhibited higher EPQ scores for neuroticism, higher levels of introversion, and a higher number of negative life events. Within the neurasthenia sample, scores for neuroticism and the SCL-90 Global Severity Index were significantly lower at follow-up than at baseline. Conclusion: As compared with control subjects, neurasthenia patients were characterized by greater neuroticism and introversion, and they reported a higher rate of negative life events. Moreover, the positive rate of EBV in neurasthenic patients was higher, which may be associated with higher EBV activation under states of stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-29
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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