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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Physiology (medical)
- Social support