Perceived Social Support and Latent Herpesvirus Reactivation: Testing Main and Stress-Buffering Effects in an Ethnically Diverse Sample of Adults

Yanping Jiang, Samuele Zilioli, Raymond P. Stowe, Rebecca Rubinstein, M. Kristen Peek, Malcolm P. Cutchin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective Perceived social support is consistently associated with physical health outcomes, and one potential physiological mechanism underlying this association is immune function. In this study, we tested both the main and stress-buffering effects of perceived social support on cellular immunity measured via latent herpesvirus reactivation. Methods Data were collected from a community-based sample of 1443 ethnically diverse adults between the ages of 25 and 90 years. Participants self-reported measures of perceived social support, stressful life events, daily hassles, and perceived stress, and provided a blood sample to assess antibody titers to the herpes simplex virus type 1 and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Results In accordance with the main effect hypothesis, results indicated that perceived social support was directly associated with EBV viral capsid antigen antibody titers (β = -0.06, 95% confidence interval = -0.12 to -0.01, p =.029). Perceived social support, however, did not interact with stressful life events, daily hassles, or perceived stress to influence latent herpesvirus reactivation (p values >.05). Neither race/ethnicity nor age moderated any of the interactions between perceived social support and the stress measures on latent herpesvirus reactivation (p values >.10). Conclusions Overall, the current study supports the main effect hypothesis, according to which higher levels of perceived social support were associated with lower levels of herpesvirus antibody titers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-776
Number of pages10
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Volume83
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • herpesvirus reactivation
  • main effect model
  • perceived social support
  • stress
  • stress buffering model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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