Carnegie Mellon University

Each of the 5 cold studies comprising the Common Cold Project was designed to address a specific set of hypotheses.  However, many common variables were collected across 2 or more studies.   We have created a combined data set that facilitates analyses that aggregate data across studies.  An example of how the aggregated data might be used is our study of the role of parenthood in colds where we combined data from three of the studies that contained the required information. 

Tables with information on which variables were measured in each of the 5 cold studies can be accessed in Measures by Study.

The following list contains the types of variables that were measured in 2 or more of the 5 cold studies.  Click on list items for additional information about each category of measurement.

Because the primary outcome of each of the 5 studies was whether participants developed a common cold, all 5 include measures of upper respiratory infectious illness (e.g., infection, signs and symptoms of a cold, and local [nasal mucosa] release of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines).  All of these measures were assessed daily on 1-2 days before viral-challenge and for 5-6 days after.
Smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, diet and sleep were assessed using multiple measurement techniques including standardized self-report questionnaires, 7- or 14-day daily interviews during baseline, 5-6 day daily interviews post-viral-challenge, and objective measures (e.g., cotinine, actigraphy).
Body mass index and waist circumference, complete blood cell counts and differentials, body temperature, measures of functional immunity, resting cardiovascular function, endocrine, and metabolic activity were all assessed at baseline.
Self-reported questionnaire assessments of physical and psychological health and well-being were all collected during baseline; nonspecific physical symptoms were reported on a daily basis (for 7 or 14 days) as part of baseline interviews.
Age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, adult socioeconomic status (SES), subjective social standing and childhood SES were all reported during baseline assessments.
Major stressful life events and perceived stress, personality, psychological expectations and beliefs, social roles, social integration and social support, and state and trait positive and negative affect were all assessed by standard questionnaires during baseline.  Daily social interactions and moods were collected during evening interviews (conducted for 7 or 14 days before exposure to a virus) and mood was also collected in daily diaries collected during the quarantine period (1 day before and 5-6 days after exposure).