Stress could make men more social

Men could become more social when suffering from stress according to new research published in Psychological Science. The study dispells the commonly held belief that men adopt a fight or flight response to pressure.

A team of economists and psychologists, including Professor Markus Heinrichs and Dr Bernadette von Dawans from the University of Freiburg, Germany, found that men can display social approach behaviour as a consequence of feeling stress rather than violence.

Stressed subjects acted more positively than those not under pressure, while negative social behaviour was unaffected by stress.

Professor Heinrichs noted previous research had proven positive contact with others can reduce stress response: "This coping strategy is anchored so strongly that people can also change their stress responses during or immediately after the stress through positive social behaviour."

Dr Roger Kingerlee, a Chartered Psychologist, said: "Orthodox research into male behaviour has tended to suggest that, particularly under pressure, human males behave in stereotypical ways.

"This research, however, implies that men's emotional and behavioural repertoire may be richer than previously imagined. If confirmed, greater male behavioural flexibility would be good news for many of us - and would suggest useful points for intervention."

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