Immune function and affective states following a natural disaster

Psychol Rep. 2002 Apr;90(2):521-4. doi: 10.2466/pr0.2002.90.2.521.


Although natural disasters sometimes strengthen community ties, it was hypothesized that the negative affect following a hurricane would lower evaluations of strangers. This hypothesis was tested by having 105 students evaluate an individual that they had just met following Hurricane Andrew. The hypothesis did not receive support, but students living in storm-damaged neighborhoods expressed more negative affect than those living in less damaged neighborhoods. Regression analyses also disclosed that severity of a disaster predicted concentrations of immunoglobulin A in saliva. The results suggest that salivary immunoglobulin A can be used to assess the health consequence of disaster exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / immunology*
  • Mood Disorders / psychology*
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Time Factors


  • Immunoglobulin A