The social curse

Autor(en)
Valerie A. Schury, Urs M. Nater, Jan A. Häusser
Abstrakt

Contagious stress describes the transmission of a stress response from a distressed individual (target) to an uninvolved observer. Building on social identity theory, we hypothesize that a shared social identity between the observer and the target as compared to a personal identity increases the likelihood of contagious endocrine and psychological stress responses. Participants underwent the experiment in groups of four or five individuals. After experimentally inducing either a shared social identity or a personal identity, one participant in each group (Ntarget = 27) was randomly chosen to undergo the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), while being observed by the rest of the group (Nobserver = 89). Salivary cortisol and psychological stress responses were assessed repeatedly during the experiment. As predicted, the likelihood of cortisol stress reactions was significantly higher in the social identity condition (25 %) as compared to the personal identity condition (7 %). No effect of our manipulation on psychological stress responses was found. We also tested whether observers' trait empathy moderates contagious stress and found no support for this moderation.

Organisation(en)
Forschungsplattform The Stress of Life - Processes and Mechanisms underlying Everyday Life Stress, Institut für Klinische und Gesundheitspsychologie
Externe Organisation(en)
Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (JLU)
Journal
Psychoneuroendocrinology
Band
122
ISSN
0306-4530
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104896
Publikationsdatum
12-2020
Peer-reviewed
Ja
ÖFOS 2012
501010 Klinische Psychologie
Link zum Portal
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/de/publications/the-social-curse(52cbb286-7812-4579-9494-1d41d5c917c7).html