Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Friendship makes a difference in stress regulation

26.10.2011
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.

This study looked at almost 100 fourth graders—an age that's been understudied in this regard—to determine whether victimization and exclusion by peers were related to increases in cortisol, and whether friendships moderated this association. The children were part of a longitudinal study on infant and child development that was carried out in the Netherlands and designed to be representative of the Dutch population.

Researchers asked children to nominate classroom peers who were often bullied, picked on, or excluded by other children. They also asked children about the number of friends they had within the classroom, and the quality of their best friendships. In addition, they questioned the children's parents about behavior problems, and they measured children's cortisol levels through saliva collections five times on each of two consecutive school days.

Children who were excluded by their classmates had elevated levels of cortisol at school, the study found. And they had a smaller decline in cortisol over the course of the day. Both of these findings may indicate that exclusion is stressful. This was even more pronounced for excluded kids who had few friends or had friendships that were characterized as low in quality.

Victimization by classmates wasn't associated with increased cortisol levels, suggesting that victimization is not as stressful as exclusion.

"Together, the results demonstrate that although friends cannot completely eliminate the stress of exclusion at school, they do reduce it," according to Marianne Riksen-Walraven, professor of developmental psychology at Radboud University Nijmegen. "And the number and quality of children's friendships can serve as a buffer against being rejected."

The study was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

Sarah Hutcheon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.srcd.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drought hits rivers first and more strongly than agriculture
06.09.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Landslides triggered by human activity on the rise
23.08.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

Im Focus: Dynamics of individual proteins

New measurement method allows researchers to precisely follow the movement of individual molecules over long periods of time

The function of proteins – the molecular tools of the cell – is governed by the interplay of their structure and dynamics. Advances in electron microscopy have...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

Major Project: The New Silk Road

01.10.2018 | Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physics: Not everything is where it seems to be

15.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Microfluidic molecular exchanger helps control therapeutic cell manufacturing

15.10.2018 | Life Sciences

Link between Gut Flora and Multiple Sclerosis Discovered

15.10.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>