Immune Responses to Stress
Stress can be thought of as a constellation of events comprised of a stimulus, “stressor,” that precipitates a reaction in the brain, “stress perception,” that activates fight-or-flight mechanisms, “stress response” (Dhabhar & McEwen, 1997). This section will concentrate on what happens in the immune system in response to stress.
In 1884, the editor of the British Medical Journal noted that at funerals, “the depression of spirits under which the chief mourners labour at these melancholy occasions peculiarly predisposes them to some of the worst effects of the chill.” Despite many such anecdotes suggesting a link between psychological factors and immune function, it is only relatively recently that these associations have received widespread acceptance in the scientific and medical communities. In fact, as recently as 1984, an editorial piece in Natureproclaimed the persistence of a “stout band of near skeptics” who, while...
References and Readings
- Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.Google Scholar