Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis - Campus Access


Psychology (PSYC)

First Advisor

Maire Ford, Ph.D.


A person's general health is the product of biological processes (for example, digestion or heat regulation), psychological processes (thoughts and beliefs), behavioral processes (habits), and social processes (for example, socioeconomic status and ethnicity). Stress, in all its forms, can impact every part of this equation, so it follows naturally to say that stress plays a prominent role in the maintenance of good health. Prior research demonstrates that living a stressful lifestyle or experiencing a stressful event, and not coping with it well, can negatively impact one's immune system. Specifically, the field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) seeks to establish a connection between psychological stress and anxiety, immune system malfunction, and the development of disease. As a result of my studies in psychology and biochemistry and my interest in the medical field, I have chosen to produce a thesis, in the form of a thought paper, which attempts to integrate these subjects and establish both what is known in the field and what questions remain to be answered. Through the lens of psychoneuroimmunology, I will outline the psychological, behavioral, social, and biological processes that contribute to the relationship between stress and disease. I will then go on to present the implications of psychoneuroimmunology on the field of medicine. By way of applying psychological research to medical practice, I will propose that stress itself is under diagnosed as the root cause of many physiological ailments, and how this acts as a detriment to quality patient care.