How do you deal with stress? University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researcher Dr. J. J. Wang, Assistant Professor or Radiology and Neurology, reports that the brains of men and women respond differently to performance stressors.
In men, it was found that stress was associated with increased cerebral blood flow in the right prefrontal cortex and reduction of cerebral blood flow in the left orbitofrontal cortex. In women, the limbic system — a part of the brain primarily involved in emotion — was activated when they were under stress. Men had increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, as opposed to women.
In simpler terms, men exhibited typical “fight or flight” responses while women were found to exhibit a more nurturing “tend and befriend” type of behaviour. One potential from the study –
“Women have twice the rate of depression and anxiety disorders compared to men,” notes Dr. Wang. “Knowing that women respond to stress by increasing activity in brain regions involved with emotion, and that these changes last longer than in men, may help us begin to explain the gender differences in the incidence of mood disorders.”
As to coaching – factoring this difference into personal coaching is congruent with a variety of techniques in team dynamics and other interpersonal situations.