Social rejection can cause stress in preschoolers, adolescents, and adults. But what happens in middle childhood, a time when peer rejection can be particularly stressful and friendships are key? A new study has found that friendships serve as a buffer against the negative effects of classmates' rejection. The study, conducted by researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, appears in the journal Child Development. Cortisol, a human stress hormone, mobilizes energy and helps us respond to potential threat when we're under stress. Increased levels of cortisol are adaptive - they help us adapt how we function to changing circumstances and cope with stressors when they occur - but chronically high levels can have negative effects on how we function, especially on our immune system.
Exposure to television coverage of terrorism causes women to lose psychological resources much more than men, which leads to negative feelings and moodiness. This has been shown in a new study, conducted at the University of Haifa and soon to be published in Anxiety, Stress & Coping, that examined the differences between men and women in a controlled experiment environment. An earlier study conducted by Prof. Moshe Zeidner of the Department of Counseling and Human Development at the University of Haifa and Prof. Hasida Ben-Zur of the University of Haifa's School of Social Work, has shown that viewing television coverage of terrorism causes viewers to lose psychological resources, such the sense of significance or success, and causes a feeling of being threatened. The current study set out to examine whether there are differences between men and women in the levels of psychological resource loss.
Researchers at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, have discovered that during REM or the dream phase sleep, our body's stress chemistry shuts down while the brain processes emotional experiences and eases the pain in difficult memories. They suggest their findings, reported online in the journal Current Biology on Wednesday, offer a compelling explanation for why people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have recurring nightmares and a hard time recovering from distressing experiences. Senior author Matthew Walker, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley, says in a media statement: "The dream stage of sleep, based on its unique neurochemical composition, provides us with a form of overnight therapy, a soothing balm that removes the sharp edges from the prior day's emotional experiences.
Participation in horticultural activities can improve confidence and social skills, cultivate a positive attitude, and rejuvenate the mind and body. Many studies have emphasized the effects of horticultural activities in relation to physical and psychological rehabilitation, but few have considered the influence of these types of activities on mentally challenged people's autonomic nervous system (ANS) and on the stress hormone cortisol. A new study examined how activities such as pressing flowers, planting, creating flower arrangements, and making topiaries affect stress relief for patients who are mentally challenged. In the first experiment of the study, the heart rate variation (HRV) was measured in 30 mentally challenged people at a rehabilitation center in Daegu, South Korea.
Stressed people fall into habits and their behaviour is not goal-directed. That the neurotransmitter norepinephrine plays a decisive role here is now reported in the Journal of Neuroscience by scientists from Bochum led by Dr. Lars Schwabe (RUB Faculty of Psychology). If the effect of norepinephrine is stopped by beta blockers, the stress effect does not occur. "The results may be important for addictive behaviours, where stress is a key risk factor" said Schwabe. "They are characterised by ingrained routines and habits." Stress experienced with and without beta blockers In a previous study, the Bochum researchers had already found that stress affects goal-directed behaviour during a learning task. Now they explored how these negative effects can be prevented. Schwabe and his colleagues subjected half of the participants to a stressful situation.