Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Immune Responses To Stress
Eric V. Yang & Ronald Glaser
Stress is “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation” ( Merriam-Webster's 1998). Stress has been described as harmful to one's health. The field of psychoneuroimmunology focuses on the influence of behavior on the interactions between the central nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system, and the impact on health. Effects on the immune system by one's behavior are mediated by a complex network of signals functioning in the bidirectional communication between the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. It was initially observed that the experience of stress has suppressive effects on the immune system. Recent data, however, have suggested that the magnitude and direction of this effect may be dependent on the characteristics and timing of the stressor. In general, acute stressors (lasting from minutes to hours) tend to stimulate the activity of the immune system, ...