The influence of personality and psychological variables on immunological response in recently diagnosed breast cancer patients

Walker, Andrew Antony

Clinical psychology
September 2014

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2014 Andrew Antony Walker. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

Abstract: In Study one, 183 women were assessed 6 weeks post-surgery for early breast cancer using the revised Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-R), the Positive and Negative and Affect Schedule (PANAS), the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale (MHLCS) and the Courtauld Emotional Control Scale (CECS). Blood samples were collected for neuroendocrinological and immunological (NI) analyses. Based on structured literature reviews hypotheses were generated regarding personality and NI relationships. Following normalisation of distributions as required, the relationship between personality variables and NI variables were computed using Pearson's Product-Moment Correlation coefficients. As psychoneuroimmunological (PNI) relationships may be effected by age, multiple linear regression was used to establish the extent to which significant relationships remained. At least one NI measure correlated significantly with at least one personality dimension. Five immunological variables were predicted by two or more personality variables. (1) Psychoticism and Extraversion both correlated significantly with the Th1-like response CD4/IL10. When entered simultaneously with age, Psychoticism and Extraversion accounted for 7.1% of the variance, better than either trait alone. (2) Neuroticism, Positive Affect (PA) and Anger correlated significantly with the Th1-like response CD4/IFNg, together accounting for almost 10% of the variance, again greater than any single variable alone. (3) Neuroticism, Negative Affect (NA), Internal Locus of Control (ILOC) and Chance Locus of Control (CLOC) were all significantly correlated with the Th1-like response CD8/IL2 and collectively accounted for almost 10% of the variance, greater than any one variable alone. However, only CLOC was a significant independent predictor of percentage of CD8/IL2. (4) CLOC and Powerful-other Locus of Control (PLOC) correlated with NK cell activity, but were less predictive than each individual dimension alone, and (5) Anxiety combined with Depressed mood correlated with percentage cells expressing CD2, but was less predictive than each individual dimension alone. The direction of the relationships are not always easy to reconcile with the existing literature on host defences and prognosis on the one hand, and personalty and survival on the other. This could be due to the particular characteristics of the participants, a very well adjusted group of women with early breast cancer six weeks post surgery, or it may reflect the subtlety of how the many components of the immune system interact to produce an effective anti-cancer response.

Study two investigated the stability of personality and NI correlations over 18 weeks, and to investigate interaction effects between NI and higher and lower scorers on various measures of personality. 62 women with early breast cancer were studied. Personality was assessed 6 weeks post-surgery using the revised Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-R), the Positive and Negative and Affect Schedule (PANAS), the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale (MHLCS) and the Courtauld Emotional Control Scale (CECS). Blood samples were collected at 6, 18 and 24 weeks post surgery for NI analysis. Pearson's product-moment correlations were computed for each personality variable and each NI measure to identify variables that produced statistically significant correlations at more than one time point, thereby indicating a significant degree of longitudinal stability. In order to identify possible differences between above and below average scorers on the personality variables (interaction effects), median values were derived for each of the personality variables and these were used to create groups of above and below median scorers. Personality and NI relationships were examined across the three time points by ANOVA. A statistically significant interaction between Extraversion and CD19 was obtained for T1 and T2 (F=9.496, p=.004) and T1 and T3 (F=5.037, p=.030) indicating that in lower scorers CD19 decreased significantly over time whereas in higher scorers it was relatively stable. This is a novel finding which deserves further study. A number of interesting statistically non-significant interesting effects were observed for Lie and CD8/IL10, Lie and LAK, Positive Affect (PA) and LAK, Negative Affect (NA) and PRL-R, NA and Cortisol, NA and Growth Hormone, NA and GHR, CLOC and Growth Hormone, and Powerful-other Locus of Control (PLOC) and PRL-R.

Publisher
Department of Psychological Health and Wellbeing, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Wang, Michael
Sponsor (Organisation)
University of Hull
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
2 MB
Identifier
hull:10499
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