There is evidence linking psychosocially mediated immunological alterations with cancer, infectious illness, and HIV progression.The data reviewed suggest that immune modulation by psychosocial stressors and/or interventions may importantly influence health status. The research literature also suggests that the impact of chronic stressors and psychosocial factors on sympathetic nervous system and endocrine function influences the immune system, thereby providing shared mechanisms that may impact on disease susceptibility and progression across a broad spectrum of disorders. A better understanding of individual vulnerability, such as occurs with aging, may help to pinpoint those at greatest risk.
Department of Psychiatry, the Program in Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, and the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Address reprint requests to: Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Ohio State University College of Medicine, 473 West Twelfth Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210.
Received for publication June 2, 1994; revision received August 1, 1994.