23. Psychoneuroimmunology of Interpersonal Relationships

  1. David I. Mostofsky
  1. Lisa M. Jaremka,
  2. Heather M. Derry and
  3. Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser

Published Online: 28 MAR 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118453940.ch23

The Handbook of Behavioral Medicine

The Handbook of Behavioral Medicine

How to Cite

Jaremka, L. M., Derry, H. M. and Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2014) Psychoneuroimmunology of Interpersonal Relationships, in The Handbook of Behavioral Medicine (ed D. I. Mostofsky), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118453940.ch23

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 MAR 2014
  2. Published Print: 11 APR 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118453995

Online ISBN: 9781118453940



  • interpersonal relationships;
  • marriages;
  • psychoneuroimmunology;
  • relationship loss;
  • relationship quality


This chapter suggests that the mere presence of close relationships confers immunological benefits. It investigates the quality of these relationships and argues that distressing relationships dysregulate immune function, whereas supportive relationships may be immunoprotective. The chapter discusses the immunological consequences of relationship loss. The focus is on the empirical adult human literature addressing close relationships and immune function. Observational studies of marital conflict discussions provide a unique window into the effects of marital distress on immune function; behavioral coding systems assess actual relationship behaviors, and thus do not rely on self-reported marital quality. The immunological consequences of distressing relationships may be particularly strong for women compared with men. Distressing relationships clearly dysregulate immune function, and initial evidence suggests that these effects may be most prominent for women. Initial evidence suggests that supportive marriages confer immunological benefits.