The relationship between rape survivors' levels of distress, health profile, ways of coping and measures of the immune system.
This research aims to investigatethe relationship between rape survivors levels of distress, coping style, health profile and immune system. Psychoneuroimmunology, an interdisciplinary field of study, is employed as a framework to understand the relationship between the levels of distress, coping style, health profile and the immune system A sample of 36 rape survivors was initially recruited for this study. However data collected from a sample of 12 female rape survivors was selected for this research. These participants completed questionnaires measuring levels of distress, impact of the event, recent life changes and health profile at time 1 (5 days post rape), time 2 (15 days post rape) and time 3 (35 days post rape) . the immunological measures included CD 3, CD 4, CD 8, neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, lymphocytes, white cell count, platelets and mv(time 1 only). The results revealed significant relationships between levels of distress and immune parameters; health profile and immune parameters; ways of coping and immune parameters and levels of distress and immune parameters. Significant differences were obtained for CD 4 5 (p= 0.039) between time 1 and time 2, as well as between time 2 and time 3. A significant difference (p = 0.039) was noted for platelets between time 2 and time 3. The levels of distress were raised at time 2. Observation ofeach participant revealed no dramatic changes across time 1, 2 and 3. When a person is subjected to rape, heightened levels of distress are experienced 15 days post rape. Rape survivors experience changes in the levels of distress , health profile, ways of coping and immune parameters over a 35 days post rape period.