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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a primer and practical guide for social scientists who wish to study the effects of social interactions on immune function. It focuses on three widely employed in vivo (i.e., ‘whole body’) assessment methods of immune function, namely, the responses to vaccination, the rate of wound healing, and the control of latent virus infections. The focus on these three in vivo approaches has a strong conceptual and empirical basis. Conceptually, in vivo assessment is the only approach that provides an unambiguous answer regarding the health-relevant impact of social factors on immune function. The empirical basis for focusing on the aforementioned three in vivo assessment methods is straightforward: These three approaches are the only in vivo methods for which meta-analyses show a robust effect which is reproducible across research laboratories.

Keywords: psychoneuroimmunology, wound healing, vaccination, reactivation, latent viruses, methods, review, stress

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