- 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.
Will bring about:
- Decrease lymphocyte proliferation & reactivity
- Decrease T-cell & function
- Decrease NK cell activity
- Decrease IgA
- Increase blood levels of Epstein-Barr Virus
Opposite effect of negative states.
Induce physiological ‘relaxation response’ instead of ‘flight or flight’.