Endocrine response to social rejection: The effect of testosterone and cortisol on pain sensitivity

Date created: 
2017-03-30
Identifier: 
etd10057
Keywords: 
Rejection
Need to Belong
Pain Sensitivity
Testosterone
Cortisol
Abstract: 

An expanding body of literature suggests that common neural underpinnings governing physical and social pain are evolved adaptations that punish social disengagement by using pain as a signalling mechanism for social rejection. Such a mechanism is necessary in the face of fitness benefits afforded by group living from which a ubiquitous need to belong has grown. Salivary testosterone and cortisol were examined in the context of fluctuating pain sensitivity in response to a social evaluation with a confederate. It was expected that a greater evolutionary prescribed tendency to seek interpersonal support would result in physiological responses to rejection in females leading to reductions in pain sensitivity. While non-significance was found for cortisol, results implicate testosterone as an important factor in altering sensitivity after social interactions in men. This relationship between testosterone and pain may be a function of dominance and increased status seeking resulting from acceptance in a social interaction.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Neil Watson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Statistics: