Eisler and Levine argue that the care giving behavior is not imprinted since females exist who do not exhibit care giving behaviors and often even harm or kill their offspring. Evolutionarily the tend-and-befriend stress response in females would have been selected for and the fight-or-flight response would have been selected against in females.
Sheep however showed a full maternal response in less than thirty seconds following an ICV of oxytocin. For a female who joins a new group with unfamiliar members, it would be advantageous for this female to form allies with other females from this group.
When an oxytocin antagonist, naltrexone was administered to females it was found to have the opposite effects of oxytocin. Another study of eight to twelve year old children conducted by Ryan found that the way children deal with stressors as well as the way they perceive their stressors is greatly affected by their gender.
Not only are groups more likely to overcome a threat than an individual, but a predator is less likely to attack a mother in a group because of the potential aid of the other group members decreases the chances of the predator winning a fight. The inhibition of oxytocin could partly explain the more aggressive physical behavior seen in males compared with the calming tend-and-befriend response observed in females.
Testosterone and vasopressin, the counterparts of estrogen and oxytocin, present during the male stress response, "fight-or-flight," have been found to exhibit the opposite effects of oxytocin.
Although vasopressin is structurally similar to oxytocin, vasopressin has been found to increase aggression in males and hence could be argued as a potential biochemical pathway for the fight-or-flight response in males Taylor et al.
Interestingly, even in females who have never become pregnant, oxytocin levels were found to rise in response to relaxation massage and decrease in response to sad emotions.
At the core of the tend-and-befriend response is the relationship between estrogen and oxytocin. Oxytocin has caused relaxation and sedation as well as reduced fearfulness and reduced sensitivity to pain Uvnas-Moberg, Tend-and-Befriend Versus Fight-or-Flight The male fight-or-flight response is inherently different from the female tend-and-befriend response.
Oxytocin however has been found to counteract the effects of the stress response McCarthy, It is hypothesized that females release oxytocin in response to stress and this release is actually a biochemical catalyst to the tend-and-befriend stress response. The tend-and-befriend response does not imply that female-female aggression does not exist, but rather that it occurs through a different pathway than the male testosterone driven aggression mediated by the fight-or-flight response.
This is also supported by research showing that females hesitate more than males in delivering an electric shock to an unknown subject when instructed to do so Miller et al.
Befriending is a behavior that is related to care of offspring and protection of offspring to ensure survival.
Geary and Flinn argue that since the female relationships are not primarily kin based their relationship would be more indicative of reciprocal altruism rather than befriending.
Although the threats mentioned are assumed to be external to the female home environment, this female network also serves to protect the females from the males even within the home environment. This advantage is seen throughout evolution as members of a group were more likely to survive than those attempting to survive on their own.
Researchers speculate that since the sheep gives birth to a limited number of offspring, the sheep it must therefore invest more time in the upbringing of these limited offspring.THE JOURNAL OF SCHOOL NURSING. Manuscript Submission Guidelines. The Journal of School Nursing (JOSN) is the official journal of the National Association of School Nurses.
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