The specific aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of Therapeutic Touch in reduction of selected stress-related decrements in immunocompetence (thereby improving immunocompetence) in a sample of highly stressed students facing their professional board exams. Immunocompetence will be measured by: function of T-lymphocytes and receptor expressiveness as measured by (1), responsiveness to mitogens; and (2), the ability of the body to mount an immune response to the hemophilus vaccine; and levels of immunoblobulins and their sub-classes. This builds on the work of Workman and LaVia, Glaser and Kiecolt & Glaser, and others who have demonstrated that stress effects immunocompetence in medical students. Long-term goals are to develop a model by which a variety of stress reduction approaches can be tested for efficacy, particularly in populations of immunosuppressed individuals. This design will be useful for testing a variety of nursing and alternative interventions in populations of highly stressed people, including newly diagnosed cancer patients, those with AIDS, and any other disease condition in which stress compromises the ability of the individual to heal. The repeated measures, repeated sessions experimental design will compare 20 subjects who are highly stressed as determined by Spielbergers' State/trait Anxiety Index (SSTAI), over a six month period. Both nursing and medical students will be recruited prior to board exams. Subjects will be randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. Data collection occurs four times: six months before the exams; before and after the set of three intervention sessions, occurring the week before boards; and, three weeks after the administration the hemophilus vaccine. Data collection includes those cited above (SSTAI and immunological profile), the Profile of Mood States (POMS), impact of Events Scale and standard demographic information. Data related to the major hypothesis are the immunological profiles between two groups which will be tested for differences. Correlation between the immunological profile and state and trait anxiety, the six sub scales of the POMS, and the impact of Events scales, will be determined.
|Olson, M; Sneed, N; LaVia, M et al. (1997) Stress-induced immunosuppression and therapeutic touch. Altern Ther Health Med 3:68-74|