The Effects of Stress, Anxiety, and Outdoor Temperature on the Frequency and Severity of Raynaud's Attacks: The Raynaud's Treatment Study

Abstract

It was expected that stress and anxiety would be related to Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) attack characteristics when mild outdoor temperatures produced partial or no digital vasoconstriction. Hypotheses were that in warmer temperature categories, compared to those below 40°F, higher stress or anxiety would be associated with more frequent, severe, and painful attacks. The Raynaud's Treatment Study recruited 313 participants with primary RP. Outcomes were attack rate, severity, and pain. Predictors were average daily outdoor temperature, stress, anxiety, age, gender, and a stress-by-temperature or an anxiety-by-temperature interaction. Outcomes were tested separately in multiple linear regression models. Stress and anxiety were tested in separate models. Stress was not a significant predictor of RP attack characteristics. Higher anxiety was related to more frequent attacks above 60°F. It was also related to greater attack severity at all temperatures, and to greater pain above 60°F and between 40° and 49.9°F.

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Brown, K.M., Middaugh, S.J., Haythornthwaite, J.A. et al. The Effects of Stress, Anxiety, and Outdoor Temperature on the Frequency and Severity of Raynaud's Attacks: The Raynaud's Treatment Study. J Behav Med 24, 137–153 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010758530555

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  • Raynaud's disease
  • Raynaud's phenomenon
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • trait anxiety