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'Love hormone' for angry partners

india Updated: Jun 21, 2006 18:45 IST
Highlight Story

A new study has found that Oxytocin, the "hormone of love" can help keep stress in check during conflicts between partners.

The study, by Beate Ditzen, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues from the University of Fribourg and the University of Zurich, was conducted in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 50 heterosexual couples who the researchers guided into mock arguments by choosing with the couple a topic frequently discussed and unresolved in the relationship.

As a part of the study, half the couples were given oxytocin via nasal spray, while the others received a placebo intranasally. They were then asked to discuss the topic during a 10-minute period and arguments were video-taped.

From saliva samples collected, the team monitored production of a stress hormone called cortisol. Standard questionnaires were used to measure personality traits and document how participants perceived the quality and social support of their relationships.

The researchers found that not only does oxytocin help keep stress in check during conflict, but by being able to curb such stress, which can be persistent in nature it could have long-term health benefits as well.

The study, by Beate Ditzen, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues from the University of Fribourg and the University of Zurich, was conducted in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 50 heterosexual couples who the researchers guided into mock arguments by choosing with the couple a topic frequently discussed and unresolved in the relationship.

As a part of the study, half the couples were given oxytocin via nasal spray, while the others received a placebo intranasally. They were then asked to discuss the topic during a 10-minute period and arguments were video-taped.

From saliva samples collected, the team monitored production of a stress hormone called cortisol. Standard questionnaires were used to measure personality traits and document how participants perceived the quality and social support of their relationships.

The researchers found that not only does oxytocin help keep stress in check during conflict, but by being able to curb such stress, which can be persistent in nature it could have long-term health benefits as well.

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