Woman, Men Respond Differently to Stress

MONTREAL, March 27 (UPI) — Women who are more defensive are at increased cardiovascular risk, whereas low defensiveness appears to damage the health of older men, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the Universite de Montreal, the Montreal Heart Institute in collaboration with colleagues from the Universite du Quebec a Montreal and McGill University said defensiveness is a trait characterized by avoidance, denial or repression of information perceived as threatening.

In women, a strong defensive reaction to judgment from others or a threat to self-esteem will result in high blood pressure and heart rate, the researchers said.

Bianca D’Antono, a professor at the Universite de Montreal and a Montreal Heart Institute, said contrarily, older men with low defensive reactions have higher cardiovascular rates.

“Our findings suggest that socialization is innate and that belonging to a group contributed to the survival of our ancestors,” D’Antono said in a statement.

“Today, it is possible that most people view social exclusion as a threat to their existence. A strong defensive reaction is useful to maintain one’s self-esteem faced with this potential threat.”

The findings are published in the journal Psychophysiology.

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