Stress-related immune changes in middle-aged and older women: 1-Year consistency of individual differences

Mary Burleson, Kirsten M. Poehlmann, Louise C. Hawkley, John M. Ernst, Gary G. Berntson, William B. Malarkey, Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, Ronald Glaser, John T. Cacioppo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study reviews prior research and reports longer-term consistency of stress-related immune variables in middle-aged and older women who performed mental math and speech tasks 2 times 1 year apart. Leukocyte subsets, mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation, and natural killer cell activity were measured at baseline, after tasks, and after 30-min recovery. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody titers were assessed at baseline. Pearson coefficients and standardized maximum-likelihood estimates of year-to-year covariances for leukocyte subsets and EBV titers showed moderately high to high baseline and posttask consistency and lower recovery consistency; consistency for other functional immune assays and reactivity scores for all variables was moderate to low. Results support longitudinal study of psychosocial context effects on tonic immune function and posttask scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002


  • Consistency
  • Immune function
  • Middle-aged women
  • Older women
  • Psychological stress
  • Reproducibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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