Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Stress Responses and Gender Differences

Males and females tend to deal with stressful situations differently. When confronted with acute stress, both males and females may initiate a fight-flight response initially. Males are more likely to respond to an emergency situation with aggression (fight), while females are more likely to flee (flight), turn to others for help, or attempt to defuse the situation, and then move rather quickly into a tend-befriend pattern. Results of studies by Shelley E. Taylor, et al have shown that tending involves nurturing activities designed to protect the self and offspring that promote safety and reduce distress; befriending involves the creation and maintenance of social networks that may aid in this process. Males are more likely to use physical aggression in struggles for power within a hierarchy or to defend territory against external enemies. Females reliably show less physical aggression than males but they display as much or more indirect aggression in the form of gossip, rumor-spreading, and enlisting the cooperation of a third party in undermining an acquaintance.

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