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Objective: We examined the influence of psychological state (depression, negative affect, perceived stress) and social support on pre- and post-vaccination response to influenza vaccine.

Methods: Venous blood was drawn from 37 nursing home residents before and following injection of the trivalent influenza vaccine (comprised of the New Caledonia (NC), Hong Kong (HK), and Panama (Pan) strains of flu). The Geriatric Depression Scale, Perceived Stress Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support were completed following the initial blood draw.

Results: Social support and perceived stress were correlated with pre-vaccine antibody responses to two of the three vaccine components (HK and NC). Social support was negatively correlated with both pre- and post-vaccine titers to Pan. Depression, positive affect, and negative affect were not related to vaccine response.

Conclusions: Perceived stress and social support influence the rate of decline of antibody titers to previous exposures to some strains of influenza occurring either naturally or via deliberate vaccination.

Copyright (C) 2004 by American Psychosomatic Society