Review

The Influence of Social Hierarchy on Primate Health

Science  29 Apr 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5722, pp. 648-652
DOI: 10.1126/science.1106477

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Abstract

Dominance hierarchies occur in numerous social species, and rank within them can greatly influence the quality of life of an animal. In this review, I consider how rank can also influence physiology and health. I first consider whether it is high- or low-ranking animals that are most stressed in a dominance hierarchy; this turns out to vary as a function of the social organization in different species and populations. I then review how the stressful characteristics of social rank have adverse adrenocortical, cardiovascular, reproductive, immunological, and neurobiological consequences. Finally, I consider how these findings apply to the human realm of health, disease, and socioeconomic status.

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