Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

This is how stress affects boys and girls differently

stress-reactions-gender-differences-2.jpg

Boys and girls have very different psychological responses to stress and should be treated differently as a result, new research suggests.

Scientists at Stanford University in the US scanned the brains of 59 children aged nine to 17, and found that girls who had been through a traumatic experience tended to have a particularly small insula – a part of the brain that deals with emotions and empathy.

In traumatised boys, however, the insula was larger than usual.

These findings could explain why girls are more likely than boys to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Our findings suggest it is possible that boys and girls could exhibit different trauma symptoms and that they might benefit from different approaches to treatment,” says Dr Megan Klabunde, the lead author on the study.

stress

Girls may be more likely to develop PTSD after stressful experiences than boys, new research suggests.

PTSD can develop after a range of traumatic events, from being in a car accident to experiencing bullying. A recent study by scientists at Imperial College London found that nearly four in 10 women who had experienced a miscarriage suffered from PTSD.


Read more: Psychology teacher’s list of 101 ways to cope with stress goes viral


Symptoms of the disorder can include flashbacks, nightmares, overwhelming anxiety, difficulty sleeping and disordered eating.

This isn’t the first report to suggest that boys and girls differ in how they respond to stressful situations – or what they find stressful in the first place. A 2006 study found that adolescent girls reported higher levels of stress than boys overall, and that their stress generally stemmed from romantic and social relationships.


Read more: And breathe: 10 ways to get on top of your Trump anxiety


Girls also usually dealt with stress by using supporting seeking and active coping strategies, such as asking for help and taking action to reduce the stress.

Boys, in contrast, tended to feel most stressed about conflicts with authority figures, such as teachers – and handled stress by avoiding the issue entirely or seeking distractions.

If you think you might be experiencing PTSD, you can seek advice and support here.

Images: iStock

Related

iStock_92648087_MEDIUM.jpg

Women who were in the Girl Guides are 15% less likely to get anxiety

phone bed affect sleep.jpg

Your bad night's sleep could be down to your phone

most relaxing track.jpg

This song is scientifically proven to help you relax

More

Thought-provoking illustrations reveal hidden secrets of strangers

The artist was met with “unexpected confessions”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

The most annoying Tube habits, as ranked by irritated Londoners

“Could you move down, please?”

by Amy Swales
22 Aug 2017

These are the main reasons relationships end, according to a new study

...and the reasons couples stay together

by Megan Murray
22 Aug 2017

The new Great British Bake Off might be OK after all

The first episode has not bombed, we repeat: it has not bombed

by Amy Swales
22 Aug 2017

Woman claims she was fired for leaking during a heavy period at work

“Every woman dreads getting period symptoms when they're not expecting them, but I never thought I could be fired for it.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

Women football fans forced to show bras while being searched at match

Add this to your list of ‘things that are definitely not OK’

by Moya Crockett
22 Aug 2017

This prosecco advent calendar will have you waving goodbye to summer

We're suddenly very excited about Christmas

by Megan Murray
22 Aug 2017

Heartfelt letter on coping with an anxious partner goes viral

“Anxiety isn't a one size fits all, it isn't consistent and it isn't always easy to tell”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

Why India banning instant divorce is a major victory for women

India’s Supreme Court has ruled against triple talaq, which allowed Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives.

by Moya Crockett
22 Aug 2017

Jennifer Aniston really isn’t happy about *that* Friends fan theory

She’s decided to put an end to the rumours, once and for all

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Aug 2017