Low stress hormone may trigger antisocial behaviour

October 6th, 2008 - 11:43 am ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 6 (IANS) Low level of stress hormone may trigger antisocial behaviour in male adolescents, a new study in Britain shows.The stress hormone, called cortisol, usually increases when people undergo a stressful experience, such as public speaking, sitting for an exam, or having surgery.

It enhances memory formation and is thought to make people behave more cautiously and to help them regulate their emotions, particularly their temper and violent impulses.

The University of Cambridge team led by Graeme Fairchild and Ian Goodyer collected samples of saliva over several days from a group of young men recruited for the study.

The samples were collected from them in a non-stressful environment to measure levels of the hormone under resting conditions.

The young men then took part in a stressful experiment that was designed to induce frustration.

Samples of saliva were taken immediately before, during and after the experiment to track how cortisol changed during stress.

While the average adolescents showed large increases in the amount of cortisol during the frustrating situation, cortisol levels actually went down in those with severe antisocial behaviour, reported science portal Science Daily.

The results of the study suggest that antisocial behaviour may be more biologically-based than previously considered, just as some individuals are more vulnerable to depression or anxiety due to their biological make-up.

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