Gender Differences in Psychological and Neuroendocrine Stress Responses

  • Taylor, Shelley E. (PI)
  • Klein, Laura (CoPI)
  • Seeman, Teresa E. (CoPI)
  • Greendale, Gail A. (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This research explores differences in how men and women react to stress, with the goal of identifying how women's responses to stress may be health-protective. In a series of experimental investigations, men and women are asked to complete stressful tasks in the laboratory (such as giving a public speech and doing arithmetic in their heads). Physiological and neuroendocrine responses to stress, memory for stress-related material, anxiety, and affiliative/social responses to the stress are then examined. The main interest is in oxytocin, in conjunction with estrogen, which may account for the fact that women are substantially more likely to turn to others in response to stress, and which may, in turn, account for the fact that their physiological and neuroendocrine responses to stress are downregulated (i.e., lessened in comparison with men's). These studies are important because they will help to identify responses to stress that are psychologically and physiologically protective and may point to interventions to improve both men's and women's responses to stress. These studies will be the first to examine the potential role of oxytocin and its enhancement by estrogen in accounting for women's greater social responses to stress and lesser physiological costs in response to stress.

Effective start/end date9/15/998/31/03


  • National Science Foundation: $399,799.00


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