Stress response: Sex differences

R. J. Handa, R. F. McGivern

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Numerous studies have described sex differences in hormonal and behavioral responses to stressors. In laboratory animals, the hormonal reactivity to a stressor has been shown to be greater in females, whereas behavioral responses are more severe in males. Such observations are attributed to sex differences either in the inherent physiological regulation of stress reactivity and/or in higher order circuits related to coping strategies and stress perception. Sex steroids act during development and adulthood to contribute to these sex differences. In humans, gender differences in stress reactivity are more complex, but are also modulated by gonadal steroids. Females tend to show greater responses to social interaction stressors, while males have greater responses to those involving achievement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Curated Reference Collection in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology
PublisherElsevier Science Ltd.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780128093245
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • ACTH
  • Androgen
  • Anxiety
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Corticosterone
  • Cortisol
  • Depression
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Glucocorticoid receptor
  • HPA axis
  • Learned helplessness
  • Negative feedback
  • Organizational
  • Paraventricular nucleus
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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