Investigation of Sex Differences In sIgA Response to the Trier Social Stress Test

Melissa Birkett, Lauren Johnson, Christopher Gelety

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Acute stressors can activate the immune system. While many immune system diseases disproportionally affect women, sex differences in adaptive immune response to acute, psychosocial stressors remain to be investigated. The present study tested the hypothesis that female participants experience increased immune response to acute psychosocial stress relative to male participants. Salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) was assessed before and after the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and at two time points during a recovery period in healthy male (n = 25) and female (n = 24) participants. Exposure to the TSST resulted in significantly increased sIgA that returned to baseline during a subsequent recovery period. Baseline sIgA was higher among women, however, no differences between men and women in response to or recovery from the stressor were observed in the present study. This research describes an initial investigation of sex differences in immune response to acute psychosocial stressors and demonstrates similarity in sIgA response among male and female participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalStress and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Stress
  • immune
  • sIgA
  • salivary measure
  • sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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