Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oxytocin, social sharing and recovery from trauma

Date:
December 18, 2012
Source:
Taylor & Francis
Summary:
Therapists have long known that people who’ve had a traumatic experience feel the need to talk about what they’ve been through. This process is called ‘social sharing’ and can take place for days, weeks, months or years after the event.

Therapists have long known that people who've had a traumatic experience feel the need to talk about what they've been through. This process is called 'social sharing' and can take place for days, weeks, months or years after the event.

Related Articles


Typically, social sharing involves 'just the facts' of what happened; emotions and feelings are shared to a much lesser extent. But sharing 'just the facts' of what happened doesn't help make people feel better. What really makes the difference is the 'social sharing of emotions' (SSE).

SSE, like the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) -- known variously as 'the hug hormone', 'the moral molecule' and 'the natural love drug' -- has a calming and bonding function in humans. So a team of researchers decided to examine whether it followed that administering oxytocin might ease this therapeutic and powerful 'social sharing of emotions'. Their study, published in the recent issue of the International Journal of Psychology, is the first to investigate the biology of emotional sharing.

The researchers took 60 adult men and asked them questions about their various personal characteristics. They then gave them a dose of placebo or OT and made them wait for 45 minutes while watching a movie featuring friendship and camaraderie. They were then asked to recall a past negative experience that still currently affects them, and rate its emotional intensity at the time. Participants then described the event on paper, and rated their current negative emotional intensity; they also had to indicate whether they would agree to share the related facts and emotions with another person.

Two judges analysed the responses. What they found was that OT did not make people more talkative -- the word counts in the letters were the same -- but it did increase the participants' willingness to share the specific component that is responsible for the therapeutic effects of social sharing: emotions. As the researchers note, "the findings are the more remarkable because they were obtained among men, who may be less inclined than women to express their emotions."

This ground-breaking study paves the way for further research in several new directions. The first would benefit patients who find it difficult to express their emotions, such as military veterans, who also have high rates of trauma. The second has implications for the prevention of trauma: one of the key elements distinguishing those who get post-traumatic stress disorder from those who do not is that the former tend to keep a small part of their experience secret. If OT could help them to share these hidden emotions, rather than just the facts, it might help them to heal.

Finally, there may be further implications for human health, related to OT's antagonistic effect on the stress hormone cortisol and its now proven encouragement of health-giving social sharing.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Taylor & Francis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anthony Lane, Olivier Luminet, Bernard Rimι, James J. Gross, Philippe de Timary, Moοra Mikolajczak. Oxytocin increases willingness to socially share one's emotions. International Journal of Psychology, 2012; 1 DOI: 10.1080/00207594.2012.677540

Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis. "Oxytocin, social sharing and recovery from trauma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121218111558.htm>.
Taylor & Francis. (2012, December 18). Oxytocin, social sharing and recovery from trauma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121218111558.htm
Taylor & Francis. "Oxytocin, social sharing and recovery from trauma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121218111558.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) — The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) — Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) — You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) — According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins