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Biol Psychol. 2012 Oct;91(2):270-4. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.07.003. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Plasma vasopressin and interpersonal functioning.

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Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Canada.


The neuropeptide vasopressin has traditionally been associated with vasoconstriction and water reabsorption by the kidneys. However, data from experimental animal studies also implicate vasopressin in social bonding processes. Preliminary work suggests that vasopressin also plays a role in social behaviors in humans. The goal of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate associations among plasma vasopressin and self-reported interpersonal functioning in a sample of married couples. During a 24-h admission to a hospital-based research unit, 37 couples completed measures of interpersonal functioning and provided blood samples for neuropeptide analyses. Results showed that vasopressin was associated with markers of interpersonal functioning, but not with general psychological distress. Specifically, greater plasma vasopressin levels were related to a larger social network, fewer negative marital interactions, less attachment avoidance, more attachment security, and marginally greater spousal social support. These results indicate that vasopressin is likely implicated in different relationship maintenance processes in humans.

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