Stress, Emotion, and Immunity

  • Kyung Bong Koh


Immune responses may depend on the intensity and/or duration of stress and coping ability. Immune activation may be a biological signal warning an impending danger to health, as well as the body’s physiological defense against stress. Immune alteration may occur differently depending on clinical or subclinical levels of anxiety and the levels of hypervigilance. The degree of immunosuppression seems to be related to the severity of depression in depressive disorders. This literature review reveals evidence that relaxation and mindfulness-based stress reduction are effective interventions to counter the effects of stress on immunity. The ability of such interventions to improve immunity has been demonstrated for HIV-infected men, for breast cancer patients, as well as for healthy individuals experiencing stress. In order to elucidate the relationship between stress and immunity, it is necessary to integrate the data related to immune, endocrine, autonomic nervous system, and brain activity. However, genetic factors need to be added to the above variables to examine the relationship between depression and immunity.


Stress Emotion Immunity Anxiety Depression Immune activation Immunosuppression Coping strategies Relaxation Mindfulness-based stress reduction 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyung Bong Koh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryYonsei University College of MedicineSeoulKorea

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