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Reconciliation, dominance and cortisol levels in children and adolescents (7–15-year-old boys)

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The stress reduction hypothesis of reconciliation (Aureli, 1997; Aureli & Smucny, 2000) is tested on hormonal level. This study explores the potential relationships between post-conflict behaviour and cortisol level in boys between 7 and 15 years of age observed in summer camp during their free-time playing. Data on 56 boys are presented. Cortisol levels were measured in the morning (fixed time of the day), about 15 min after the end of conflict (PC) and next day without conflict as a match control (MC). Post-conflict of two types were analyzed: those followed with affiliation between former opponents and without affiliation. Age and dominance status of boys were taken in account in analyses of relationships between cortisol and post-conflict behaviour. The differences of cortisol level according to the occurrence of reconciliation were demonstrated. The stress reduction hypothesis of reconciliation was confirmed at the physiological level in children and adolescents.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky Prospekt 32a, 117334 Moscow, Russia

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