Perceived stress and psychological well-being are associated with antibody status following meningitis C conjugate vaccination

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE: Psychological stress has been associated with reduced immune response to a variety of vaccinations. This study is the first to examine antibody status after vaccination with a conjugate vaccine, in which a polysaccharide antigen is conjugated to a protein to elicit a thymus-dependent antibody response. METHODS: Sixty undergraduate students, who had received the meningitis C conjugate vaccine before recruitment, attended a single testing session. They provided a blood sample and completed a battery of questionnaires, including the Life Events Scale for Students, Perceived Stress Scale, and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28). Both meningitis C-specific antibody titer and the serum bactericidal assay titer to whole meningitis C bacteria were assayed. RESULTS: High perceived stress, but not life events stress, was associated with low antibody titers. Poor antibody titers were also predicted by relatively low levels of psychological well-being as measured by the GHQ-28. Of the GHQ-28 subscales, anxiety/insomnia and social dysfunction were associated with antibody status. No psychological variables emerged from bivariate analyses as predictive of the adequacy of bactericidal titer. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first evidence that antibody status after a conjugate vaccination may be susceptible to psychological influences.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-970
Number of pages8
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2002


  • social dysfunction, anxiety, psychological well-being, perceived stress, life events, meningitis C conjugate vaccination