Faculty Research and Creative Activity

Psychoneuroimmunology: Mechanisms, Individual Differences, and Interventions

Jeffrey R. Stowell, Eastern Illinois University
Theodore F. Robles
Heidi S. Kane

This post-print is available in final form in: Stowell, J. R., Robles, T., & Kane, H. (2012). Psychoneuroimmunology: Mechanisms, individual differences, and interventions In A. M. Nezu & C. M. Nezu (Eds.), Handbook of psychology (Vol. 9): John Wiley & Sons.


The field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) addresses how psychological factors (particularly stress) influence the immune system and physical health through neural and endocrine pathways. These relationships are especially relevant to immunologically mediated health problems, including infectious disease, cancer, autoimmunity, allergy, and wound healing. In 2007, the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society’s flagship journal, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, published a series of papers summarizing the progress of PNI over the previous 20 years. As noted by Ader and Kelley (2007) in their overview of the series, the field has defined itself as a valid interdisciplinary area, complete with societies, publications, and grants to support it. PNI researchers have moved past the question of whether there are bidirectional connections between the nervous and immune systems to address the conditions under which these connections influence each other, their developmental origins, and clinical applications.