That's What Friends are For

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A number of California researchers have coined a new phrase that they say describes some women’s response to stress: tend-and-befriend

A number of California researchers have coined a new phrase that they say describes some women’s response to stress: tend-and-befriend. The researchers report in Psychological Review (July, 2000) that one way women react to stress is by tending to offspring and forming social groups.

Oxytocin is the hormone behind all this togetherness. In women oxytocin stimulates contractions of the uterus in labour and milk letdown during nursing. This hormone has also been found to promote nurturing social behaviour, decrease blood pressure, and enhance relaxation.

Perhaps the researchers have confirmed what many women already know: spending some time with a friend can be a great way to combat the pressures of modern life.

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