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 language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Handbook of Neuroendocrinology|
|Number of pages||14|
|State||Published - 2012|
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