• Study of the interaction between psychological processes & the nervous & immune systems of the human body.
  • Coined by Ader
  • How stress & anxiety can affect one’s immune system
  • Link between what we think & our health & ability to heal ourselves
  • Stress & negative emotions: heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, delayed wound healing & premature aging.

Effect of stress on immune system:

  • Short term stressors: boost immune system
  • Chronic long-term stressors: suppresses immune system
  • More serious on elderly & those already sick

Mood & immune system

  • Negative emotions on the ill: 3 times more likely to die than those who are not depressed.

Social support & immune system

  • HIV +ve men with low levels of social support: more rapid decline in T-helper cell counts over a period of 5 years.


Negative States

Will bring about:

  • Decrease lymphocyte proliferation & reactivity
  • Decrease T-cell & function
  • Decrease NK cell activity
  • Decrease IgA
  • Increase blood levels of Epstein-Barr Virus

Positive states

Opposite effect of negative states.

Induce physiological ‘relaxation response’ instead of ‘flight or flight’.



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