Acute Threat to the Social Self: Shame, Social Self-esteem, and Cortisol Activity

@article{Gruenewald2004AcuteTT,
  title={Acute Threat to the Social Self: Shame, Social Self-esteem, and Cortisol Activity},
  author={Tara L. Gruenewald and Margaret E. Kemeny and Najib Aziz and John L. Fahey},
  journal={Psychosomatic Medicine},
  year={2004},
  volume={66},
  pages={915-924}
}
Objective: Our Social Self Preservation Theory asserts that situations which threaten the “social self” (ie, one’s social value or standing) elicit increased feelings of low social worth (eg, shame), decrements in social self-esteem, and increases in cortisol, a hormone released by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. To test our theoretical premise, cognitive, emotional, and physiological responses to the performance of laboratory stressor tasks were compared in participants who performed… 

Self-focus and social evaluative threat increase salivary cortisol responses to acute stress in men

The hypothesis that self-focused attention might increase cortisol release was tested and negative evaluation may increase cortisol regardless of whether this source comes from oneself or others.

Subjective social status moderates cortisol responses to social threat

When the social self is threatened: shame, physiology, and health.

It is demonstrated that acute threats to the social self increase proinflammatory cytokine activity and cortisol and that these changes occur in concert with shame, which support a stressor- and emotional response-specificity model for psychobiological and health research.

The effects of threatened social evaluation of the physique on cortisol activity

Results suggest that the threatened social evaluation of one's body can activate the cortisol response, and women who frequently experience such threats may be at increased risk for a variety of health conditions associated with chronic cortisol exposure.

The psychobiology of trait shame in young women: extending the social self preservation theory.

  • N. RohlederE. ChenJ. WolfG. Miller
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association
  • 2008
Results support SSPT predictions with respect to chronic shame experience and inflammation, and suggest the importance of SNS activation related to shame, and the possibility that HPA activation may be limited acute experiences of shame.

A General Enhancement of Autonomic and Cortisol Responses During Social Evaluative Threat

A threshold-activation model is proposed as a physiological explanation for why engaging stressors, such as those involving social evaluation or uncontrollability, may seem to induce selectively cortisol release.

Role of shame and body esteem in cortisol stress responses

It is suggested that body esteem and trait shame independently contribute to strength of cortisol stress responses and as such, a potential contributor to stress-related negative health outcomes.

Physiological and emotional responses to subjective social evaluative threat in daily life

An important role is suggested for anxiety, embarrassment, and shame as emotional consequences of naturally occurring evaluative threat, especially for those who are more socially anxious.

Negative social evaluation, but not mere social presence, elicits cortisol responses to a laboratory stressor task.

It is suggested that the mere social presence of others is not driving the changes in cortisol observed under social-evaluative threat; instead, explicit negative social evaluation may be responsible for increases in this health-relevant physiological parameter.

Examining Psychobiological Responses to an Anticipatory Body Image Threat in Women

The present study extended the applicability of social self-preservation theory (SSPT) to an anticipatory body image threat. Women (n = 80) were randomized into either a control or threat group
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 56 REFERENCES

When the social self is threatened: shame, physiology, and health.

It is demonstrated that acute threats to the social self increase proinflammatory cytokine activity and cortisol and that these changes occur in concert with shame, which support a stressor- and emotional response-specificity model for psychobiological and health research.

Sex differences in stress responses: social rejection versus achievement stress

Chronic Social Stress, Social Status, and Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infections in Nonhuman Primates

Although the social instability manipulation was associated with increased agonistic behavior as indicated by minor injuries and elevated norepinephrine responses to social reorganizations, the manipulation did not influence the probability of being infected by the virus.

Cortisol response to embarrassment and shame.

This study examined individual differences in 4-year-old children's (N = 60) expression of the self-conscious emotions of embarrassment and shame and their relation to differences in cortisol

The 'Trier Social Stress Test'--a tool for investigating psychobiological stress responses in a laboratory setting.

The results suggest that gender, genetics and nicotine consumption can influence the individual's stress responsiveness to psychological stress while personality traits showed no correlation with cortisol responses to TSST stimulation.

Psychological Stress and Neuroendocrine Function in Humans: The Last Two Decades of Research

This paper reviews experimental contributions published in the last two decades and exploring the effect of emotional stress on neuroendocrine function in healthy humans, as well as the influence of gender, age, personality, coping style, social support, biological and nonbiological interventions.

Acute stressors and cortisol responses: a theoretical integration and synthesis of laboratory research.

Motivated performance tasks elicited cortisol responses if they were uncontrollable or characterized by social-evaluative threat (task performance could be negatively judged by others), when methodological factors and other stressor characteristics were controlled for.

The evolution of social attractiveness and its role in shame, humiliation, guilt and therapy.

  • P. Gilbert
  • Psychology
    The British journal of medical psychology
  • 1997
It is suggested that humans have innate needs to be seen as attractive to others, which form the basis for shame and mediate evaluations of social standing, social acceptance and social bonds.
...