The effects of intermittent swim stress and stressor controllability on natural killer cell activity (NKCA) was examined. Significant decreases in splenic NKCA were observed immediately post-stress, but only when the stress was controllable. Although decreased NKCA was also observed in yoked rats subjected to the same stressor, it failed to attain statistical significance. Previous results suggest these effects are not due to corticosterone. The results suggest a cost of coping on the acute, in vitro immune measure of NKCA.