Self-discrepancy and natural killer cell activity: immunological consequences of negative self-evaluation.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The study tested whether self-discrepancy theory could account for changes in natural killer (NK) cell activity after exposure to self-referential stimuli. Anxious, dysphoric, and control Ss were pretested and 1 month later covertly exposed to their own self-guides as well as those of another S. Blood samples were drawn for analysis of NK cytotoxicity and cortisol. The dysphoric Ss manifested the greatest actual:ideal discrepancy, whereas the anxious Ss manifested the greatest actual:ought discrepancy. Content analysis of written responses showed that activating discrepancies induced specific negative states; priming discrepancies also increased cortisol for the anxious Ss. NK activity was lower after self-referential priming for both distressed groups, particularly the anxious Ss. The control Ss showed a trend toward increased NK activity after self-referential priming. The study represents the 1st experimental demonstration that negative self-evaluation can alter immune responses.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Strauman, TJ; Lemieux, AM; Coe, CL

Published Date

  • June 1993

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 64 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1042 - 1052

PubMed ID

  • 8326467

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1315

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3514

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037//0022-3514.64.6.1042


  • eng