Chapter

Social Context and Other Psychological Influences on the Development of Immunity

Christopher L. Coe and Gabriele R. Lubach

in Emotion, Social Relationships, and Health

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195145410
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848201 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195145410.003.0008

Series: Series in Affective Science

Social Context and Other                         Psychological Influences on the Development of Immunity

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The chapter begins with discussing the mother–infant relationship as an essential factor at play in an offspring's adjustment, maturation, emotional security, and survival. Along with this is the discussion of the recent discipline of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) — the study of the connection between psychosocial processes and the immune system — which has dramatically enhanced the understanding of the link of social relations and well-being. To establish causality, various research about several rearing methods on infant animals and their protection from diseases is here reviewed. Not only do social networks contribute to the protection against viruses, but also these ties help individuals face stressful events. An effective psychological response to different stimuli regulates the secretion of hormones that are beneficial for the development and susceptibility of human and nonhuman primates. Future studies in the same field are needed when personal characteristics and/or gender differences are taken into account.

Keywords: social relationships; psychoneuroimmunology; emotional attachment; maturity; survival; susceptibility; psychological well-being

Chapter.  14303 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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