Chapter 12. Antistress, Well-Being, Empathy and Social Support

  1. Prof. Dr. Bengt B. Arnetz3,4 and
  2. Prof. Rolf Ekman5
  1. Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg1 and
  2. Maria Petersson2

Published Online: 21 AUG 2006

DOI: 10.1002/3527609156.ch12

Stress in Health and Disease

Stress in Health and Disease

How to Cite

Uvnäs Moberg, K. and Petersson, M. (2006) Antistress, Well-Being, Empathy and Social Support, in Stress in Health and Disease (eds B. B. Arnetz and R. Ekman), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, FRG. doi: 10.1002/3527609156.ch12

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Wayne State University, 101 E. Alexandrine, Detroit, Michigan 48201-2011, USA

  2. 4

    Division of Social Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala Science Park, Social Medicine, 75185 Uppsala, Sweden

  3. 5

    Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Neurochemical laboratory, Mölndal/SU, 43180 Mölndal, Sweden

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden

  2. 2

    Department of Molecular Medicine, Endocrine and Diabetes Unit, Karolinska Institutet/Karolinska University Hospital, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 AUG 2006
  2. Published Print: 20 JUL 2006

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527312214

Online ISBN: 9783527609154



  • stress in health and disease;
  • stress and brain plasticity;
  • antistress;
  • well-being;
  • empathy and social support;
  • antistress pattern;
  • physiology of breastfeeding;
  • chemistry of oxytocin;
  • effects of oxytocin;
  • release of oxytocin in response to touch


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Brief Overview of the Fight–Flight or Stress and Defense Mechanisms

  • Deduction of Physiology of the Antistress Pattern from the Physiology of Breastfeeding

  • The Chemistry of Oxytocin

  • Effects of Oxytocin

    • Behavior and Social Interaction

    • Physiological Effects

    • Long-Term Effects in Response to Repeatedly Given Oxytocin

    • Mechanisms Involved in the Long-Term Effects of Oxytocin

  • Release of Oxytocin in Response to Touch

    • Sensory Nerves

    • Mother and Child Interaction

    • The Same System is Activated in Connection with Sexual Activity

    • Oxytocin Is Not Only Released by Stimulation of Sensory Nerves

    • Conditioned Oxytocin Release

    • Activation of Oxytocin Release via Psychological Mechanisms

  • Health and Social Interaction

    • How Does Closeness and Support Improve Health?

    • Social Relationships

    • Lifestyle Without Closeness

    • Touch Therapies

  • References