Review of the literature: integrating psychoneuroimmunology into pediatric chronic illness interventions

J Pediatr Psychol. 2008 Mar;33(2):195-207. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsm076. Epub 2007 Sep 10.


Objective: Provide an orientation to psychoneuroimmunology, a rationale for including assessments of immune function in intervention studies of pediatric chronic illness, review the current literature, and provide recommendations for future research.

Methods: Using electronic searches and previous reviews, selected and reviewed published studies in which immunological changes related to psychological interventions were assessed in pediatric samples.

Results: Eight studies were identified and included in the review. These utilized a range of interventions (e.g., disclosure and hypnosis) and included a variety of pediatric samples (e.g., those with asthma, HIV infection, or lupus).

Conclusions: Results suggest that psychological intervention can influence immune function in pediatric samples. Recommendations for advancing our knowledge by studying populations for whom the immune system plays an active role in disease pathophysiology, measuring disease-relevant immune mediators, studying pediatric patients under times of stress, and focusing on interventions aimed at altering the stress system are provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychoneuroimmunology / methods*