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The Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology is an essential resource for researchers and students of social psychology and related disciplines.

Tend and Befriend Theory
Tend and befriend theory
Shelley E.Taylor
Abstract

The “tend and befriend” theory builds on the observation that human beings affiliate in response to stress. Under conditions of threat, they tend to offspring to ensure their survival and affiliate with others for joint protection and comfort. These responses are underpinned by an affiliative neuro-circuitry that appears to be based on oxytocin and endogenous opioid peptides. When close relationships are threatened or one is socially isolated, a rise in plasma oxytocin occurs, a biological marker that may signal a need for affiliation. Oxytocin prompts affiliative behavior in response to stress, in conjunction with the opioid system. Together with positive social contacts, oxytocin attenuates biological stress responses that would otherwise arise in response to social threats. These ...

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