Chronic social stress: Effects on neuroendocrine function

Karen A. Scott, Kellie L.K. Tamashiro, Randall R. Sakai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This chapter discusses the importance of neuroethologically valid animal models of social stress, what information these models have produced, and how they may relate to the human condition. Interpersonal conflict, hostile work environments, perception of low socioeconomic status, or lack of social support can result in social stress exposure, which can negatively affect health. It is important to choose an appropriate species and model when testing hypotheses. Acknowledgement of the species' natural environment and behavioral repertoire has contributed greatly to our understanding of psychosocial stress. In humans, low socioeconomic status (SES) and lack of emotional support is associated with obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other characteristics of the metabolic syndrome. The relationship between social stress and obesity is complicated and somewhat paradoxical, since stress has been found to be associated with both decreased and increased food intake and body weight in animals. Social stress can have profound and paradoxical effects on the immune system, as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and immune system have reciprocal interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Neuroendocrinology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780123750976
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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