The interaction of social network size and stressful life events predict delayed-type hypersensitivity among women with metastatic breast cancer

Julie M. Turner-Cobb, Cheryl Koopman, Joshua D. Rabinowitz, Abba I. Terr, Sandra E. Sephton, David Spiegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined relationships between social support, stressful life events and antigen-specific cell-mediated immunity. Participants were 72 women with documented metastatic breast carcinoma, who completed self-report measures of social support and life stress. Immune response was assessed using the delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) skin test. Number of positive antigens was significantly related to the interaction of social network size and stressful life events (p<0.05). Number of positive antigens was greater for women who had experienced a high frequency of stressful life events but who reported a larger network of support. However, social network size was inversely related to DTH response among women who had experienced fewer stressful life events. Average induration size was not significantly related to the quality of social support, life stress per se, or their interactions. The relationship between social network size and immune response in women with metastatic breast cancer depends on prior stressful life experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-249
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Immunity
  • Social support
  • Stress

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