Who needs stress buster when you’ve got your bros? According to a study by the University of California, Berkeley, bromance, a close but non-sexual relationship between two men, is good for your health. The study’s results lead researchers to believe that male bonding improves health by significantly boosting an individual’s ability to cope with stress.
The study extends to male rats housed in cage, and demonstrates that mild stress can actually make male rats more social and cooperative than they are in an unstressed environment, much as humans come together after non-life-threatening events such as a national tragedy. After a mild stress, the rats showed increased brain levels of oxytocin and its receptor and huddled and touched more.
Lead author Elizabeth Kirby said that a bromance can be a good thing. Males are getting a bad rap when you look at animal models of social interactions, because they are assumed to be instinctively aggressive. But even rats can have a good cuddle, essentially a male-male bromance, to help recover from a bad day.
She added that having friends is not un-masculine. These rats are using their rat friendships to recover from what would otherwise be a negative experience. If rats can do it, men can do it too. And they definitely are; they just don’t get as much credit in the research for that. The study appears online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.