Secretory immunoglobulin A reactivity to acute and cumulative acute multi-tasking stress: relationships between reactivity and perceived workload

Biol Psychol. 2004 Jul;66(3):257-70. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2003.10.008.


The effects of an acute stressor upon secretory immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) were assessed using a task that requires participants to attend and respond to several stimuli simultaneously and is therefore analogous to a variety of working environments. In two studies, the task was administered for periods of 5 min to healthy samples of men and women at two sessions 24 h apart (n = 49) and three times in succession within one session (n = 20). Multi-tasking stress was, at all sessions, associated with increases in S-IgA secretion. Inter and intra-session reliability of pre and post-stress S-IgA measures was observed, although the reliability of stress reactivity data was reduced. Classification of participants as either high or low S-IgA reactors revealed differences in their perceptions of task workload. Low S-IgA reactors consistently perceived the task to be more demanding and frustrating than did those who demonstrated high S-IgA reactivity. We conclude that S-IgA reactivity to stressful situations depends not just upon the task, but also upon individual perceptions of the stressor.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology*
  • Male
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Stress, Psychological / immunology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload*


  • Immunoglobulin A