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Rosalind J. Wright, MD

Assistant Professor in Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Associate Physician
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Assisant Professor
Department of Society, Health and Human Development
Harvard School of Public Health

Research Interests

My research program focuses on the epidemiology of chronic respiratory disease in both adults (adult-onset asthma, COPD) and children (childhood asthma). Utilizing multiple longitudinal cohort designs, I am examining the role of varied psychosocial stressors (e.g., adverse life events, violence, social deprivation) on asthma morbidity. Environmental stressors may impact asthma morbidity through neuroimmunological mechanisms which are adversely impacted and/or buffered by social networks, social support, and individual psychological functioning. In addition, life stress may impact on health beliefs and behaviors that may affect asthma management. Whereas earlier psychosomatic models have supported a role for psychological stress in contributing to variable asthma morbidity among those with existing disease, a growing appreciation of the interactions between behavioral, neural, endocrine, and immune processes suggest a role for these psychosocial factors in the genesis of asthma as well. Through collaboration with a multidisciplinary group of investigators at the Channing Laboratory and the Harvard School of Public Health, these studies are designed to systematically examine not only traditional asthma risk factors, but also the characteristics of the environments (i.e., stress) in which individuals live, behaviors develop, and disease risks are realized. Potential mechanisms linking stress to asthma are also explored through the epidemiologic measurement and analyses of biomarkers reflecting differentiation of the immune system. Specifically, our laboratory examines the influence of stress on T-helper cell differentiation as reflected in cytokine profiles and IgE production (TH2 phenotype). Other projects focus on the role of psychosocial factors (i.e., negative/positive emotions, stress) on lung function decline and COPD risk.

Selected Publications

Wright RJ, Wright RO, Isaac NE. Response to battered mothers in the pediatric emergency department: a call for an interdisciplinary approach to family violence. Pediatrics 1997;99(2):186-192. [abstract]

Wright RJ, Steinbach SF. Violence: an unrecognized environmental exposure that may contribute to greater asthma morbidity in high risk inner-city populations. Environmental Health Perspectives 2001;109:1085-1089. [abstract]

Wright RJ, Cohen S, Carey V, Weiss ST, Gold DR. Parental Stress as a Predictor of Wheezing in Infancy: A Prospective Birth-Cohort Study. Am J Resp Crit Care Med 2002;165:358-365. [abstract]

Thomson CC, Roberts K, Curran A, Ryan L, Wright RJ. Caretaker-child concordance for child’s exposure to violence in a preadolescent inner-city population. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 2002; 156:818-823. [abstract]

Kubzansky LD, Wright RJ, Cohen S, Weiss ST, Rosner B, Sparrow D. Breathing Easy: A prospective study of optimism and pulmonary function in the Normative Aging Study. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2002; 24(4):345-53. [abstract]

Jackson B, Kubzansky L, Cohen S, Weiss ST, Wright RJ. A matter of life and breath: childhood socioeconomic status is related to young adult pulmonary function in the CARDIA study. Intl J Epi 2004; 33(2): 271-278. [abstract]

Wright RJ, Mitchell H, Visness C, Cohen S, Stout J, Evans R, Gold DR. Community violence and asthma morbidity in the Inner-City Asthma Study. Am J Publ Health 2004; 94:625-632. [abstract]

Wright RJ, Finn P, Contreras JP, Cohen S, Wright RO, Staudenmayer J, Wand M, Perkins D, Weiss ST, Gold DR. “Chronic Caregiver Stress and IgE Expression, Allergen-Induced Proliferation, and Cytokine Profiles in a Birth-cohort Predisposed to Atopy. J Allergy Clin Immun 2004; 113:1051-7. [abstract]

Bellamy S, Li Y, Ryan L, Lipsitz S, Jacobson M, Wright RJ. Analysis of clustered and interval censored data from a community-based study in asthma. Statistics in Medicine 2004; 23(23):3607-21. [abstract]

Pickett KE, Rathouz PJ, Dai L, Kasza, K, Wakschlag, LS, Wright RJ. Self-Reported Smoking, Cotinine Levels, And Patterns Of Smoking In Pregnancy. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2005; 19:368-376. [abstract]

Jackson B, Kubzansky L, Wright RJ. Linking Perceived Unfairness to Health: The Perceived Unfairness Model. Review of General Psychology. 2006. (Accepted)

Wright RJ, Fisher E. Putting Asthma into Context: Community Influences on Risk, Behavior, and Intervention. In: Kawachi I, Berkman, L, eds, Neighborhoods and Health, Oxford University Press, 2003.

Wright, RJ, Cohen, RT, Cohen, S. The impact of stress on the development and expression of atopy. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2005 Feb;5(1):23-29. [abstract]