Association Between Rhinitis and Depression in United States Adults

Christopher R. Roxbury, Mary Qiu, Josef Shargorodsky, Troy D. Woodard, Raj Sindwani, Sandra Y Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Growing evidence suggests a link between allergic disorders and depression, but literature assessing the association between rhinitis and depression is conflicting, and large population-based studies are lacking. Objective: To assess the association between depression and rhinitis in a representative sample of United States adults. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 4320 participants in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Rhinitis was defined as self-reported hay fever and/or nasal symptoms in the past 12 months. Rhinitis was further stratified as allergic rhinitis (AR) if participants had a positive serum IgE or nonallergic rhinitis (NAR) if participants did not have a positive serum IgE to any aeroallergen. The outcome variable was depression, defined as a score ≥10 on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. Results: The odds of depression were 42% higher in subjects with rhinitis compared with those without rhinitis (odds ratio [OR]: 1.42, confidence interval [CI]: 1.03-1.95, P =.04) and 2 times higher in subjects with NAR compared with those without rhinitis (OR: 1.99, CI: 1.34-2.96, P =.002). Subjects with NAR had 64% higher odds of mild depression (OR: 1.64, CI: 1.32-2.02, P <.001) and 2.4 times higher odds of moderate depression (OR: 2.43, CI: 1.39-4.26, P =.004) compared with subjects with no rhinitis. Conclusions: Rhinitis is significantly associated with depression, and patients with NAR may be at higher risk of depression than those with AR. Although further studies are required to elucidate the relationship between rhinitis and depression, these findings reinforce the need to consider depression in patients undergoing evaluation for rhinitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Depression
  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
  • Nonallergic rhinitis
  • Rhinitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy

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