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J Behav Med. 2001 Jun;24(3):219-29.

Differences in functional immune responses of high vs. low hardy healthy individuals.

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Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA.


An association between the personality trait of hardiness and immune responses was explored. Blood samples were collected from 21 healthy individuals under nonstressful conditions, who had either high or low levels of hardiness. Functional immune assays tested for natural killer (NK) cell activity and proliferation responses to Candida albicans (Candida), purified protein derivative from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (PPD), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), concanavalin A (Con A), and Staphylococcus enterotoxin A (Staph A). Differences between high and low hardy groups on these immune responses were examined using Bonferroni adjusted independent t-tests. Results revealed significant differences between the groups for Candida, PPD, Con A, and Staph A. In all instances, the high hardy group had larger mean proliferative responses than the low hardy group. Implications of the study as well as avenues for future research are discussed.

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