Document Detail

Shaking up immunity: psychological and immunologic changes after a natural disaster.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9088047     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVE: The 1994 Northridge earthquake created life disruption and psychological distress for employees of the nearby Sepulveda VA Medical Center. We were interested in the immunologic correlates of disruption and distress under these stressful circumstances. METHOD: Sixty-eight employees were examined beginning 11 days post-earthquake and were observed until about 4 months after the earthquake, during which time three psychological and immunologic assessments were done. Subjects experienced life disruption from the earthquake itself, damage to home and possessions, injury to self and others, and damage to and functional disruption of workplace. Questionnaires assessed degree of life disruption (personal and work-related), mood, earthquake-specific distress, and repression (alexithymia, coping style or "Type C", and "immunosuppression-prone" traits). Immune measures included lymphocyte subsets-total T (CD3+), helper T (CD4+), cytotoxic T (CD3 + CD8+), B (CD19+), and natural killer (NK; CD3 - CD16 + CD56+)-as well as lymphoid cell mitogenesis (PHA and PWM), and NK cell cytotoxicity. RESULTS: Along with a lessening degree of distress over time, a number of immunologic measures declined over the assessment period (CD3+, CD8+, CD16 + 56+ cells. T cell blastogenesis, and NK cell cytotoxicity). Furthermore, subjects reporting low distress had higher numbers of CD3+ and CD8+ cells and a higher proliferative response to PHA. Those with distress corresponding to life disruption had highest levels of CD3+ and CD8+ cells. Measures of repression did not relate directly to immunity. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that appropriateness of psychological reaction to the realistic degree of life stress was least disruptive of an aspect of immunity.
G F Solomon; S C Segerstrom; P Grohr; M Kemeny; J Fahey
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Psychosomatic medicine     Volume:  59     ISSN:  0033-3174     ISO Abbreviation:  Psychosom Med     Publication Date:    1997 Mar-Apr
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-06-12     Completed Date:  1997-06-12     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376505     Medline TA:  Psychosom Med     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  114-27     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
Arousal / physiology*
Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / immunology
Follow-Up Studies
General Adaptation Syndrome / immunology*,  psychology
Hospitals, Veterans
Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
Middle Aged
Occupational Diseases / immunology,  psychology
Personality Inventory
Psychophysiologic Disorders / immunology*,  psychology
T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
Grant Support
Comment In:
Psychosom Med. 1997 Mar-Apr;59(2):142-3   [PMID:  9088049 ]

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