The effects of social support and the dispensing of oxytocin on the physiological responsiveness to stress in essential hypertension

“Psychoneurobiological mechanisms in essential hypertension and coronary heart disease (CHD)” (Project 3: Oxytocin study)

Project leader: Petra Wirtz
Project duration: 2011 – 2017
Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P1-128565/1 to PW)

In this study, we want to investigate whether increased stress responsiveness in hypertensive individuals can be reduced via intervention. Since studies have shown that the hormone oxytocin can reduce psychophysiological stress reactivity in individuals with normal blood pressure, we want to test whether a single dose of oxytocin (via nasal spray) can also normalise stress responsiveness in individuals with hypertension.
The results will deliver important new insights for the development of interdisciplinary pre- and intervention strategies to reduce hypertension.