Individual differences in self-regulatory failure and menstrual dysfunction predict upper respiratory infection symptoms and antibody response to flu immunization.
Prior research indicates that cognitive priming manipulations that activate personal goals acutely increase or decrease natural killer cell cytotoxicity depending on whether individuals see themselves as making or failing to make progress toward their goals. Those findings in a laboratory setting revealed a psychobiological pathway whereby experiences of failure can influence health, but did not assess the impact of chronic perceived success/failure in goal pursuit on actual health outcomes. Three new studies investigated whether individual differences in perceived failure to attain personal goals influenced the self-reported symptoms of upper respiratory infections (URIs) as well as antibody response to flu immunization. Based on pilot data in young women, it also was hypothesized that the occurrence of menstrual dysfunction might interact with goal pursuit failure to more specifically predict cold and flu symptoms and optimal responses to vaccination. Perceived failure to attain goals did predict the reporting of URI symptoms as well as antibody levels post-immunization, both alone and in combination with menstrual dysfunction.
Strauman, TJ; Coe, CL; McCrudden, MC; Vieth, AZ; Kwapil, L
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