Depression, Coping Style, and Wound Healing

A recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News (September 2010) caught my eye: Attitude appears to affect healing process for wounds. The article cites a research study in the August issue of Dermatologia that found patients who were less depressed had wounds that healed faster. It also found slower healing in those who had “confrontational” coping styles and therefore had difficulty with the loss of control around waiting for a wound to heal.

It turns out this isn’t an isolated conclusion. A 2008 study in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association found similar results regarding depression and healing. Stress and depression were found to affect healing in a 2001 study in Psychosomatic Medicine. In 2008, researchers at Cairo University found the use of relaxation techniques helped reduce depression and improve wound healing and recovery in post-Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) patients.
In this McKnight’s Long-Term Care News article, I outlined conditions that might warrant a referral of nursing home residents to the psychologist, and now I’m going to add to the list:
  • Residents recovering from wounds or surgery

6 thoughts on “Depression, Coping Style, and Wound Healing”

  1. Dr. El,

    So, in theory, people who are involved in recreational activities (reducing stress, alleviating depression) would also receive the benefit of faster wound healing?

  2. In theory, Sue, yes. Of course, I'd like to see a research study on that so we could point to the proof. Perhaps one group of healing residents assigned to attend a daily activity and another left to their own devices. Or a larger study that measured frequency of recreation attendance and speed of healing, controlling for variables that might influence someone to be an activity-attender and therefore less depressed. It needs some tweaking, but is an entirely possible study using archival data.

  3. Hi DR. El,
    Just saw your website, am passing the link on to all of our clinicians.
    We’re psychologists and ARNP’s serving our elderly in SNFs all over the Puget Sound region in Washington State. Am always looking for skilled clinicians who want to do this specialized work.
    Where are you?
    Many thanks for a great resource,
    Dr. Bruce
    Founder, The Lantern Group, Inc.
    206-LANTERN (526-8376)


Leave a Comment