The implicit affiliation motive moderates cortisol responses to acute psychosocial stress in high school students

Psychoneuroendocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.94). 10/2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.06.013


It has been previously shown that the implicit affiliation motive – the need to establish and maintain friendly relationships with others – leads to chronic health benefits. The underlying assumption for the present research was that the implicit affiliation motive also moderates the salivary cortisol response to acute psychological stress when some aspects of social evaluation and uncontrollability are involved. By contrast we did not expect similar effects in response to exercise as a physical stressor. Fifty-nine high school students aged M = 14.8 years were randomly assigned to a psychosocial stress (publishing the results of an intelligence test performed), a physical stress (exercise intensity of 65-75% of HRmax), and a control condition (normal school lesson) each lasting 15 minutes. Participants’ affiliation motives were assessed using the Operant Motive Test and salivary cortisol samples were taken pre and post stressor. We found that the strength of the affiliation motive negatively predicted cortisol reactions to acute psychosocial but not to physical stress when compared to a control group. The results suggest that the affiliation motive buffers the effect of acute psychosocial stress on the HPA axis.

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Available from: Henning Budde, Jul 24, 2014
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