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Parents Less Likely To Develop Colds, Carnegie Mellon Research Shows
Date:7/3/2012

PITTSBURGH, July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 now.

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New research led by Carnegie Mellon University's Sheldon Cohen and Rodlescia S. Sneed shows that being a parent influences health in a positive way. Published in Psychosomatic Medicine, the research provides the first evidence that, when exposed to a common cold virus, parents are 52 percent less likely to develop a cold than non-parents.

"We have had a long-term interest in how various social relationships influence health outcomes," said Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology within CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "Parenthood was especially interesting to us because it has been proposed that it can have both positive and negative effects on health. For example, being a parent can be stressful but at the same time can be fulfilling, facilitate the development of a social network and provide purpose in life."

For the study, Cohen, Sneed, Ronald B. Turner of the University of Virginia Health Center and William J. Doyle of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine exposed 795 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55 to a virus that causes a common cold. Participants reported their parenthood status, and analyses were controlled for immunity to the experimental virus, viral strain, season, age, sex, race, ethnicity, marital status, body mass, employment
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