Why Women Cope Better with Stress

Daily Mail (London), July 10, 2013 | Go to article overview

Why Women Cope Better with Stress


Byline: Nick McDermott Science Reporter

MULTI-tasking mothers have known it for years - women are better at coping with stress than men. Now scientists believe they can tell them why.

It's all down to the protective effect of oestrogen, which appears to 'block' the negative effects of stress on the brain.

In a US study, scientists put male and female rats through tasks that mimicked challenging experiences humans often face, such as those causing frustration and feelings of being under pressure.

The female rats showed no impairment in their ability to recognise objects they had previously been shown, said study leader Dr Zhen Yan, while the male rats struggled with their short-term memory.

An inability to remember a familiar object indicates a disturbance in the part of the brain that controls working memory, attention, decision-making and other high-level 'executive' processes.

'Previous studies have found that females are more resilient to chronic stress and now our research has found the reason why,' said Dr Yan, a professor in the department of physiology and biophysics at the University of Buffalo.

'We have examined the molecular mechanism underlying gender-specific effects of stress.' Earlier research by the professor found that repeated stress resulted in this area of the brain being damaged in young male rats. …

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