Psychosocial enhancement of immunocompetence in a geriatric population.

J. K. Kiecolt-Glaser, R. Glaser, D. Williger, J. Stout, G. Messick, S. Sheppard, D. Ricker, S. C. Romisher, W. Briner, G. Bonnell

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This study assessed the enhancement of immunocompetence by relaxation and social contact in 45 geriatric residents of independent-living facilities. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three protocols: relaxation training, social contact, or no contact. Subjects in the relaxation and social-contact conditions were seen individually three times a week for a month. Blood samples and self-report data were obtained at baseline, at the end of the intervention, and at a 1-month follow-up. At the end of the intervention, the relaxation group showed a significant increase in natural killer cell activity, and significant decreases in antibody titers to Herpes simplex virus and self-rated distress; the other two groups showed nonsignificant changes. There was a general increase in the T-lymphocyte response to phytohemagglutinin stimulation at the end of the intervention, with greater change at lower mitogen concentrations. These data suggest that cellular immunocompetence may be enhanced by psychosocial interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-41
Number of pages17
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1985

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