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Psychosocial Factors and the Response to Influenza Vaccination in Older Adults

Moynihan, Jan A. PhD; Larson, Mark R. PhD; Treanor, John MD; Duberstein, Paul R. PhD; Power, Alan MD; Shore, Bernard MD; Ader, Robert PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.psy.0000140001.49208.2d
Original Articles

Objective: We examined the influence of psychological state (depression, negative affect, perceived stress) and social support on pre- and post-vaccination response to influenza vaccine.

Methods: Venous blood was drawn from 37 nursing home residents before and following injection of the trivalent influenza vaccine (comprised of the New Caledonia (NC), Hong Kong (HK), and Panama (Pan) strains of flu). The Geriatric Depression Scale, Perceived Stress Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support were completed following the initial blood draw.

Results: Social support and perceived stress were correlated with pre-vaccine antibody responses to two of the three vaccine components (HK and NC). Social support was negatively correlated with both pre- and post-vaccine titers to Pan. Depression, positive affect, and negative affect were not related to vaccine response.

Conclusions: Perceived stress and social support influence the rate of decline of antibody titers to previous exposures to some strains of influenza occurring either naturally or via deliberate vaccination.

ANOVA = analysis of variance; GDS-15 = Geriatric Depression Scale; HAI = hemagglutination inhibition; HK = Hong Kong; MSPSS = Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support; NC = New Caledonia; Pan = Panama; PANAS = Positive and Negative Affect Schedule; PSS = Perceived Stress Scale.

From the Department of Psychiatry and the Center for Psychoneuroimmunology Research (J.A.M., M.R.L., P.R.D., R.A.) and the Department of Medicine and the Vaccine Evaluation Treatment Unit (J.T.), University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York; St. John’s Home (A.P.) and the Jewish Home (B.S.), Rochester, New York.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Jan A. Moynihan, PhD, University of Rochester Medical Center, Box PSYCH, 300 Crittenden Blvd., Rochester, NY 14642. E-mail:

Received for publication April 6, 2004; revision received June 9, 2004.

The study was funded by PHS grant: N01-A1-25460.

Copyright © 2004 by American Psychosomatic Society
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