The relation between psychological factors and DNA-damage: A critical review

Yori Gidron, Katie Russ, Harilaos Tissarchondou, Jane Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigating relations between psychological factors and DNA-damage can contribute to understanding how psychological factors affect the etiology and prognosis of relevant diseases (e.g., cancer, heart disease) at the fundamental level of mutated cells. This article critically reviews 21 studies in animals and humans testing relations between psychological factors and DNA-damage. After providing a biological background, we critically review each study. The findings in humans are mapped onto a model of stress, coping and health. These studies demonstrate causal relations between acute stressors and DNA-damage in animals and significant correlations between psychological factors (e.g., depression, coping) and DNA-damage in humans, which are moderated by gender. Possible mechanisms for these relations, limitations of studies, clinical implications and suggestions for future research are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-304
Number of pages14
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA-damage
  • Disease
  • Gender
  • Psychological factors
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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