Thomas Ritz, Alexander Lippert, Alicia Meuret, David Rosenfield

Subject Area



Reactive oxygen species in the form of exhaled hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and nitric oxide (NO) are important biological markers of inflammation and immune response in the airways of both asthmatics and healthy individuals. Previous research has linked psychological distress to changes in these processes in the airways, which can impact overall disease management outcomes. The current study examined changes in H2O2, NO, mood, and other physiological measures during times of prolonged stress using a naturalistic paradigm. Both healthy and asthmatic participants were assessed at three separate time periods; once during a low stress period mid-semester, and twice during the week of final examinations. At each session, participants completed questionnaires regarding mood, social support, stress, cold symptoms, and physical activity. They also provided saliva samples, a blood pressure measurement, and several measures of lung function and airway physiology. Online surveys of stress and cold symptoms were completed one week after final examinations. Mixed models analyses were used to examine changes mood and physiological variables both between and within participants across time. Significant changes were found for stress, negative affect, H2O2, and NO. Implications for these results are discussed as well as directions for future research endeavors.

Degree Date

Summer 8-4-2020

Document Type


Degree Name





Thomas Ritz

Second Advisor

Alicia Meuret

Third Advisor

David Rosenfield

Fourth Advisor

Alex Lippert

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License