This is Science Today. Oxytocin, an important reproductive
hormone best known for inducing labor, may possibly
play a role in the high rates of depression experienced
by women. Rebecca Turner, an assistant professor
of psychiatry at the University of California, San
Francisco, says the rate of depression in men and
women starts to diverge in adolescence.
So, it has been speculated that the tremendous change
in reproductive hormones during adolescence may
have something to do with this emerging gender difference
In a recent study, Turner found the first hint that
oxytocin levels do have an effect on emotional behavior.
Turner: We found that people who have more interpersonal distress, particularly people with more social anxiety and discomfort in relationships or discomfort being alone, that these are individuals who had lower levels of oxytocin reactivity to the emotional stimulus. So, we would also want to look at how does is this hormone regulated in people who are depressed as compared to people who don't experience problems with depression?
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.