Protocol for an experimental investigation of the roles of oxytocin and social support in neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and subjective responses to stress across age and gender

Kubzansky, Laura D.; Mendes, Wendy B.; Appleton, Allison; Block, Jason; Adler, Gail K.
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p481
Academic Journal
Background: Substantial empirical evidence has demonstrated that individuals who are socially isolated or have few positive social connections seem to age at a faster rate and have more chronic diseases. Oxytocin is a neurohypophyseal hormone hypothesized to coordinate both the causes and effects of positive social interactions, and may be involved in positive physiological adaptations such as buffering the deleterious effects of stress and promoting resilience. The proposed research will examine whether and how oxytocin influences responses to stress in humans and will consider effects in relation to those of social support. Methods/Design: Experimental research will be used to determine whether exogenously administered oxytocin (intranasal) influences psychological and physiological outcomes under conditions of stress across gender and age in adulthood. Hypotheses to be tested are: 1) Oxytocin ameliorates the deleterious neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and subjective effects of stress; 2) Oxytocin and social support have similar and additive stress-buffering effects; 3) Oxytocin effects are stronger in women versus men; and 4) Oxytocin effects are similar across a range of adult ages. Hypotheses will be tested with a placebo-controlled, double-blind study using a sample of healthy men and women recruited from the community. Participants are randomly assigned to receive either oxytocin or placebo. They undergo a social stress manipulation with and without social support (randomly assigned), and outcome measures are obtained at multiple times during the procedure. Discussion: Understanding the determinants of healthy aging is a major public health priority and identifying effective measures to prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases is an important goal. Experimental research on oxytocin, social relationships, and health in adulthood will contribute to the scientific knowledge base for maximizing active life and health expectancy. At conclusion of the study we will have solid evidence concerning the effects of oxytocin on stress response and whether it has similar effects across age and gender groups. A neurobiological understanding of resilience can inform efforts for both prevention and intervention of diseases or problems common in later life. Trial registration: Clinical trial identification number is NCT01011465.


Related Articles

  • Book reviews. Bruhn, John G. // Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science;Jan-Mar95, Vol. 30 Issue 1, p95 

    Reviews the book `Social Support and Cardiovascular Disease,' edited by Sally A. Shumaker and Susan M. Czajkowski.

  • RESEARCH ROUNDUP. Linden, Belinda // British Journal of Cardiac Nursing;Jul2014, Vol. 9 Issue 7, p322 

    The article discusses several studies of interest to those nurses working in the field of cardiovascular nursing. These include studies on the recovery of children with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, the use of coronary artery calcium testing to guide aspirin utilization, and the...

  • mind, body, heart. ELIAZ, ISSAC // Better Nutrition;Feb2014, Vol. 76 Issue 2, p51 

    The article focuses on the benefits of meditative practices to the heart's health, which also according to several researches profoundly affects the heart on every level from the physical, emotional and spiritual. Topics discussed include clinical studies proving the efficacy of regular...

  • The influence of social support on risk of acute cardiovascular diseases in female population aged 25-64 in Russia. Gafarov, Valery V.; Panov, Dmitry O.; Gromova, Elena A.; Gagulin, Igor V.; Gafarova, Almira V. // International Journal of Circumpolar Health;2013, Vol. 72, p1 

    Objective. To study the prevalence of social support (SS) and its influence on the relative risk (RR) of myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke in the female population aged 25-4 in Russia. Materials and methods. Under the third screening of the WHO "MONICA-psychosocial" programme,a random...

  • Social Support, Social Intimacy, and Cardiovascular Reactions to Acute Psychological Stress. Phillips, Anna C.; Gallagher, Stephen; Carroll, Douglas // Annals of Behavioral Medicine;2009, Vol. 37 Issue 1, p38 

    Exaggerated cardiovascular reactions to psychological stress are considered a risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity. Social support may reduce such risk by attenuating cardiovascular reactivity to stress. To examine the effects of three independent social support variables and their...


    Objective: The purpose was to gain an in-depth understanding of the factors influencing hypertension medication compliance among hypertensive older African Americans. Design: Qualitative descriptive. In depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 28 patients. Interviews were recorded,...

  • NEUROENDOCRINE TUMOURS OF GUT, LIVER, AND PANCREAS: OVERALL SURVIVAL IN A LARGE COHORT. Davies, A.H.G.; Stangou, A.J.; Jervis, N.; Aylwin, S.J.B.; Buxton-Thomas, M.; Ramage, J.K. // Gut;Apr2003 Supplement 1, Vol. 52, pA38 

    Introduction Neuroendocrine tumours constitute a heterogeneous group of neoplasms, which originate from neuroendocrine cells in the gut, pancreatic s et ce s respiratory epithelium, thyroid, and pituitary glands They are rare tumours, hence series tend to be small from individual centres. These...

  • Editor’s Note. Kloner, Robert A. // Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology & Therapeutics;Jul2013, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p309 

    An introduction to a series of articles on cardiovascular pharmacology and therapeutics, published within the issue is presented.

  • Is it Time to Target Prehypertension A. Whaley-Connell and J. R. Sowers Time to Target Prehypertension. Whaley-Connell, Adam; Sowers, James R. // Cardiovascular Therapeutics;Dec2010, Vol. 28 Issue 6, p337 

    The article discusses various reports published within the issue, including one on the relationship between increasing blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease (CV), one on antihypertensive therapy in prehypertensive individuals, and another one on the risk factors for CV morbidity.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics