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Stress and cortisol responses in men: differences according to facial symmetry.

Authors
  • Borráz-León, Javier I1, 2
  • Cerda-Molina, Ana Lilia2
  • Mayagoitia-Novales, Lilian2
  • 1 a Postgraduate Program in Biological Sciences , National Autonomous University of Mexico , Mexico City , Mexico. , (Mexico)
  • 2 b Department of Ethology , National Institute of Psychiatry, "Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz" , Mexico City , Mexico. , (Mexico)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2017
Volume
20
Issue
6
Pages
573–579
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/10253890.2017.1378341
PMID: 28927320
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Stress response is associated with increased activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. Chronic stress-induced elevation in cortisol may alter its own negative regulation with multiple long-term consequences for physical and psychological health. One of the most reliable physical traits associated with mental, apparent physical health, and competitiveness is the degree of facial fluctuating asymmetry. However, to our knowledge there are no studies regarding the relationship between cortisol levels, facial symmetry and male competitiveness, and how cortisol changes after a stressful test depending on these traits. Here, a group of 100 college men were photographed to obtain their facial asymmetry levels. They then, answered the perceived stress scale and the intrasexual competition test and donated two saliva samples (pre-and post-test sample) to measure the change in their cortisol levels after a stressful test. We found that basal cortisol levels were positively correlated with both perceived stress and competitiveness, but not with facial fluctuating asymmetry. Cortisol levels increased in most symmetrical men after a short stressful test, but it decreased in most asymmetrical men. The results suggest differences in endocrine responses according to facial fluctuating asymmetry in men and how these responses could be related to the maintenance of social status.

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