We have all faced rejection at one time or another in our lives. It may have come from your peers in school, from someone that you are romantically involved with, or even someone at work. Rejection is a normal part of life and is something that we must learn to deal with, but that doesn’t meant the sting of being rejected goes away as easily. New research has found however that the hormone oxytocin can help to ease the sting of social rejection.
The research from a study performed by the Concordia University’s Centre of Research shows that when people are rejected by peers and are exposed to oxytocin right after, they will move on and find new people to talk to. They call it the “tend and befriend” mode. When someone is distressed the oxytocin may help someone reach out to others to ease the pain of being rejected.
During the study 100 students got a nasal spray which contained either oxytocin or a placebo. The students also took personality tests to find out which ones were more affected by social rejection. Some of the researchers would then pose as students and put the test subjects under distress in a social setting by ignoring them, disagreeing with them, or interrupting them. The students that had the oxytocin spray were more apt to find comfort and trust in others after this distress.
Researchers say that this could be a step forward in helping to treat depression. When someone is depressed they tend to withdraw instead of leaning on others for help. If this were to work, they could be given the oxytocin with the hopes that they would reach out to others instead of being withdrawn into their own thoughts.
Oxytocin has also been found to reduce the stress hormone cortisol in fighting couples.