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Most stimuli and stressful situations increasing the risk of suffering from mental and physical disorders in humans are caused by our social nature. Therefore, paradigms based on social stress are being adopted more frequently in studies with human and animal models to determine stress neurobiological mechanisms. However, an essential aspect of the response to social stress depends on broad differences changing from one individual to another.

Research group “Stress and Health: Vulnerability and Resistance” (ESSA) of the Department of Psychobiology of the Universitat de València bases its studies on the results obtained in previous studies carried out by researchers of the group in field studies (women victims of gender based violence, over trained athletes, teachers suffering from burnout, casual caretakers...); laboratory studies on humans (mental, physical and social stressed individuals) and experimental studies on animals (social isolation, social meeting, dominance-submissiveness, social defeat).

The main objective is to analyse and determine a series of potential factors of vulnerability and resistance that may contribute to explain the individual differences when responding to social stress and their impact on health. Obtained results shall contribute to increase the knowledge on the bases and mechanisms of individual differences in response to stress, which is currently one of the biggest challenges for biomedical research. In addition, they will be useful for the bases of intervention strategies necessary for the prevention and treatment of mental and physical disorders caused by social stress, helping to achieve more specific and efficient action programmes.