Chemical differences when men and women argue

Men and women react differently – chemically – during an argument and during the aftermath ‘cooling down’ period. [Credit:]

A body of scientific evidence shows that men and women differ – chemically – when it comes to arguments between couples.

For example, a Pennsylvania State University  study, which measured the level of stress hormone, cortisol, found significant differences between arguing men and women.

The levels of cortisol in men were linked with the level of hostility in an argument, while in women, the stress levels were often the result of  a perceived ‘lack of engagement’ by men in the issue at hand.

The scientists asked the couples to discuss disputed issues between them, such as finances, or housecare, and them took saliva samples before and after they argued.

Men took longer to recover chemically and get back to normal cortisol levels than women after a particularly hostile argument.

The scientists theorised that women recovered quicker from such hostile arguments because they at least felt that issues had been aired and weren’t being ignored.

Another study by the University of Minnesota found a link between how good people are at ‘cooling down’ from an argument, and early childhood experience.

The Minnesota researchers found that individuals with a strong bond with their caregiver aged 12 to 18 months were better able to recover following an argument, move on, and not be left ruminating and angry – whether they were men or women.

When it comes to stress, and coping with it; it seems the blueprint is laid down early.

LISTEN: Interview with Declan Meehan 1 Nov ’12  on East Coast FM

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