A call to mom relieves stress

Independent (UK) 12 May 10

A new study to be published on May 12 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B has found a mother’s voice can quell her young daughter’s stress with a quick phone call. Three researchers at University of Wisconsin Madison stressed out a group of tween girls aged 7-12 in front of strangers and divided them into three groups where different treatments were applied. One group’s mothers were present to calm them down, another spoke to their mothers on the phone and the last group watched an emotion-neutral 75-minute video.

“The children who got to interact with their mothers had virtually the same hormonal response, whether they interacted in person or over the phone,” said Leslie Seltzer, co-author of the study and biological anthropologist. She explained, “It was understood that oxytocin release in the context of social bonding usually required physical contact. But it’s clear from these results that a mother’s voice can have the same effect as a hug, even if they’re not standing there.”