Overall evaluations of stress & immune system

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Individual differences

Individual differences 


  • Research has shown gender and age differences in stress/ immune system relationship
  • woman show more adverse changes in way they react to marital conflict 
  • as people age stress has greater effect on immune system making it harder for body to regulate itself 
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Real world application

Real world application 


  • Knowledge of stress and immune system has led to new programmes for a 'healthy lifestyle' 
  • Stress coping behaviours can be taught 
  • Techniques include deep breathing and expressive writing 
  • People who use stress coping behaviours report improvement in physical and psychological well being 
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Segerstrom and Miller 2004


  • Meta analysis on 293 studies over past 30 years 
  • found short term acute stressors boost immune system prompting it to ready itself for infections 
  • long term chronic stressors led to supression of immune system - most chronic stressors associated with global supression of immunity 
  • longer the stress the more the immune system shifted from adaptive to detrimental chnages 
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