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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1990 Nov;59(5):1082-94.

Impact of perceived self-efficacy in coping with stressors on components of the immune system.

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  • 1Stanford University, California 94305.


This experiment examined the impact of experimentally varied perceived self-efficacy in exercising control over stressors on components of the immunological system. Immunological changes while coping with phobic stressors were measured within an intrasubject control design that included a baseline phase, an efficacy-acquisition phase, and a maximal-efficacy phase. In each of these phases, perceived coping self-efficacy, level of autonomic and endocrine activation, and several components of the immunological system were measured. Development of strong perceived self-efficacy to control phobic stressors had an immunoenhancing effect. A slow growth of perceived self-efficacy, heart rate acceleration, and cortisol activation attenuated immunological system status during the efficacy-acquisition phase. Rapid growth of perceived self-efficacy also predicted maintenance of immunoenhancement during the maximal perceived self-efficacy phase.

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