Life events, social support, and immune response in elderly individuals. Academic Article uri icon


  • One hundred ninety-two elderly men and women were investigated to determine the effects of recent life events, psychological adjustment, and social support on lymphocyte count, controlling for nutritional status, age, education, income, and the presence of lymphocyte-altering drugs. Effects of specific recent life events were found. For elderly males, recent sexual dysfunction lowers lymphocyte count, while psychological adjustment and percentage kin in the intimate network elevates it. For elderly females, the experience of either family or legal problems elevates lymphocyte count as does frequent interaction with members of the intimate network. These results suggest that life events have very different effects on elderly men and women's immune systems. Social support has direct but mediating effects on lymphocyte count for both genders.

published proceedings

  • Int J Aging Hum Dev

author list (cited authors)

  • McIntosh, W. A., Kaplan, H. B., Kubena, K. S., & Landmann, W. A.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • McIntosh, WA||Kaplan, HB||Kubena, KS||Landmann, WA

publication date

  • July 1993