Stress, optimism, and social support: Impact on immune responses in breast cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the direct and stress-buffering effect of optimism and satisfaction with social support on immune responses in women with breast cancer. Participants were 54 post-operative (M = 19 days) breast cancer patients who completed questionnaires on stress, optimism, and satisfaction with social support and provided blood to measure natural killer cell activity (NKCA) and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) from whole blood. Higher levels of stress were associated with decrements in NKCA and IFN-y. Optimism moderated the relationship of stress on NKCA but was not related to IFN-γ. Satisfaction with social support was unrelated to immune responses. Results suggest that interventions aimed at reducing stress and enhancing optimism in women with breast cancer might promote optimal immune response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-83
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007


  • Breast cancer
  • Immune response
  • Optimism
  • Social support
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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