Unrelated and previously unfamiliar male mice were maintained in groups of six tor different periods and at different ambient temperatures. High- and low-ranking males differed in hormone-related resistance to a subsequent experimental infection with the blood protozoan Babesia microti and there were rank differences in the apparent modulation of immunodepressive hormones relative to an individual's internal, social and physical environment. Resistance to B. microti was influenced by serum concentrations of corticosterone and testosterone. Associations between aggressiveness and measures of immunocompetence and resistance were related to corticosterone concentration, but only among low rankers. Effects of testosterone on resistance were confined to high rankers but were not associated with aggressiveness, although high rankers maintained greater aggressiveness than low rankers in all experimental treatments. The effects of group duration and temperature on resistance can be interpreted in terms of changing hormone and antibody levels in relation to metabolic stress. The results emphasize the importance of interactions between underlying physiological changes in relationships between behaviour, immune function and disease.