Oxytocin and cortisol in romantically unattached young adults: Associations with bonding and psychological distress

Ilanit Gordon, Orna Zagoory-Sharon, Inna Schneiderman, James F. Leckman, Aron Weller, Ruth Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite extensive research on the involvement of oxytocin (OT) in mammalian bonding, less is known about its role in human social affiliation across the life cycle. Forty-five romantically unattached young adults participated. Plasma oxytocin and salivary cortisol were assessed using enzyme immuno-assay, and self-report measures of bonding, attachment, anxiety, and depression were collected. Oxytocin was associated with bonding to own parents and inversely related to psychological distress, particularly depressive symptoms. Cortisol was related to attachment anxiety. Regression analysis indicated that the adult's representations of bonding to parents predicted OT levels above and beyond cortisol, psychological distress, and attachment. Findings are consistent with antistress models of oxytocin and suggest that oxytocin may play a role in bonding-related cognitions across the life span.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-352
Number of pages4
JournalPsychophysiology
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2008

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Bonding
  • Cortisol
  • Depression
  • Oxytocin

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