Thursday, 11 Jun, 2009 Offbeat

Gossip Makes Women Healthier and Happier


Some men might think that women's greatest mistake is gossip, but according to the latest research, gossip makes women healthier. A new study found that gossip considerably increases the levels of progesterone, a hormone that plays a role in reduction of anxiety and stress.

In addition, gossip is a powerful tool that keeps women connected in a social environment, which in its turn makes them happier.

In their study, researchers at the University of Michigan divided 160 female students in two groups. The first group was given questions to ask each other, the questions being developed with the goal of bringing the participants closer together. There were questions like: "Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want as a dinner guest?" and "What has been your greatest accomplishment?" The second group was asked to proof-read a science paper on botany.

After just 20 minutes of study, women in the first group registered the same or increased level of the hormone, but women in the second group had a reduced level of progesterone.

"Many of the hormones involved in bonding and helping behavior lead to reductions in stress and anxiety. Higher levels of progesterone may be part of the underlying basis of these effects," explained the lead researcher Professor Stephanie Brown. The study and its results were published in the journal Hormones and Behavior.

The researcher added that it is important to identify the connection between biological mechanisms and human social behavior. This will give scientists the answer to the question why people in close relationships live happier, longer and are healthier than people who are isolated from the rest of the society.

It is worth mentioning that progesterone is created in the ovaries. The hormone prepares the womb for pregnancy, helps in fighting infection and halts the over-production of estrogen, a hormone that can increase the risk of cancer.

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