Using Affectionate Communication as a Response to Acute Stress
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|ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00468572|
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : May 2, 2007
Last Update Posted : January 10, 2012
|Condition or disease||Intervention/treatment||Phase|
|Stress||Behavioral: Affectionate Writing Behavioral: Meaningless Writing||Not Applicable|
Stress is a large part of daily modern life; however, it can cause a number of long-term problems for mental and physical health. Recent research has confirmed that there are definite mental and physical health benefits of maintaining significant positive social bonds. Many of these benefits appear to be associated with the ability to regulate stress that is caused by environmental challenges. Drawing on close relationships and expressing affection may help people to recover from stress more effectively. This study will evaluate the tend-and-befriend theory, which suggests that engaging in behaviors aimed at maintaining and strengthening significant social bonds can act as an adaptive response to acute stress.
All participants in this study will undergo a series of standard laboratory stressors designed to elevate cortisol levels. Cortisol, also known as the "stress hormone," is activated and secreted within the body in response to stress. Current research suggests that displaying signs of affection toward a loved one can lower cortisol levels, causing the body to relax and recover from a stressful situation more quickly. After lab tests have been completed, participants will be randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. Participants assigned to the experimental group will spend 20 minutes writing an affectionate letter to a loved one. Participants assigned to the control group will spend 20 minutes writing about meaningless topics. Levels of cortisol will be measured using saliva samples from each participant during the writing session. Levels of oxytocin, a hormone known to transmit signals within the brain and often associated with bonding and building trusting relationships, will be measured from blood samples taken during the writing session as well. Participants will also provide a self-report of their current stress level at the end of the study. Participation in this study will last approximately 2 hours. By examining associations between the communication of affection and responses to acute stress, this study may eventually lead to the development of new and better treatment options for people with constant acute stress.
|Study Type :||Interventional (Clinical Trial)|
|Estimated Enrollment :||120 participants|
|Intervention Model:||Parallel Assignment|
|Primary Purpose:||Basic Science|
|Official Title:||Affectionate Communication as a Mechanism for Responding to Acute Stress|
|Study Start Date :||February 2007|
|Actual Primary Completion Date :||December 2007|
|Actual Study Completion Date :||December 2007|
Participants will receive treatment with affectionate writing
Behavioral: Affectionate Writing
Participants assigned to the experimental group will spend 20 minutes writing an affectionate letter to a loved one. Levels of cortisol will be measured using saliva samples from each participant during the writing session. Levels of oxytocin, a hormone known to transmit signals within the brain and often associated with bonding and building trusting relationships, will be measured from blood samples taken during the writing session as well.
Active Comparator: 2
Participants will receive treatment with meaningless writing
Behavioral: Meaningless Writing
Participants assigned to the control group will spend 20 minutes writing about meaningless topics. Participants will undergo the same testing during the writing session as the experimental group.
- Oxytocin levels [ Time Frame: Measured at Hour 2 ]
- Cortisol levels [ Time Frame: Measured at Hour 2 ]
- Self-reported stress level [ Time Frame: Measured at Hour 2 ]
To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00468572
|United States, Arizona|
|Exercise and Sports Research Institute|
|Tempe, Arizona, United States, 85287|
|Principal Investigator:||Kory Floyd, PhD||Arizona State University|