Biological Psychology 2- Stresss and Immunity


The immune system is a collection of cells, such as white blood cells, which travel with the bloodstream to defend against antigens.


Kiecolt-Glaser et al (1984) :

  • 75 American medical students
  • Activity levels of NK cells measured before and during the exam periods (Long term Stress)
  • NK levels were found to decrease, therefore immunity is lowNK cells- Natural killer cells. These are responsible for for destroying infected cells.

Evans et al (1994):

  • Students asked to give talks
  • SigA levels measured before and during the periods of the talks (Mild stress)
  • SigA levels increase, therefore immunity increases


  • Time validity- Both pieces of research were conducted 18-28 years ago, However more recent research by Kiecolt-Glaser (2005), were immunity was measured when the was marital conflicts, still show a decrease in immunity for Chronic stress.
  • GAS Model- The General Adaption syndrome model suggests that our ability to cope with stress decreases over time, This is supported by this research as a short term stressor increases immunity but a long term stressor decreases immunity.
  • Ethnocentrism- Kiecolt-Glaser's research is based on American students, therefore it can be argued that her results can not be…


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