Stressing the female side: Do women react different to stress by nature?

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Abstract:

This article contains a description of the inspiring ideas about the nature and origin of female stress responses as offered by Taylor and colleagues (2000). Thereafter, the main lines of reasoning behind their evolutionary, psychological theory are discussed, in particular the fact that the theory is based on women as pregnant beings and/or mothers. Also, attention is paid to some implications of the theoretical framework for psychological theory and practice. It is argued that the, in many cases gendered, nature of the stressor is of great importance, together with the direct social context in which the stressor is operative. For the prediction of the nature of female stress responses, it might be relevant to distinguish between social contexts in which care-needing children are present or absent, while also other, possibly relevant, sex- and gender-specific characteristics should be taken into account.

Keywords: ATTACHMENT; BIOBEHAVIOURAL; CHILDCARE; HEALTH; HORMONES; SEX DIFFERENCES; SEX ROLES; STRESS RESPONSES

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616660110119322

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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