Apparently, defensive behavior makes men feel less stressed while women have opposite reaction. Clearly, if men would just admit we are right at all times then we wouldn’t have a need to get defensive… I’m just saying! 🙂

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You might think that defensiveness — which psychologists describe as avoiding, denying, or repressing information one perceives as threatening — would not be a good thing, and maybe even causes you stress. But a new Canadian study finds men may actually feel better, and less stressed, when they are more defensive. By contrast, women are better off not feeling defensive.

The details
The study of defensiveness and stress was carried out at the Montreal Heart Institute, where researchers evaluated 81 men and 118 women aged 20 to 64 years. In a laboratory setting, each participant was given stressful tasks to perform while being measured for both defensiveness and stress level, the latter by way of factors like heart rate, blood pressure, and salivary cortisol (a stress hormone). Turns out that men who were more defensive tended to exhibit fewer signs of stress, compared to less-defensive men. Whereas women showed the opposite response: Those who were more defensive showed more signs of stress, including increased blood pressure and heart rate.

What it means
At face value — if seen purely in terms of defensiveness — the response among the men doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. You would think that defensiveness would equal greater stress in both genders, but it didn’t in men, which may have been because they were also being assertive, explains psychologist and principal investigator Bianca D’Antono, PhD. And doing that may have been a de-stressor for them.

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