Relationship between proximity and physiological stress levels in hunter-gatherers: The Hadza

Piotr Fedurek, Laurent Lacroix, Athena Aktipis, Lee Cronk, Jerryson Makambi, Ibrahim Mabulla, Julia Lehmann, J Colette Berbesque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years there has been a great deal of documentation on how social relationships are related to various aspects of human wellbeing. However, until recently most studies investigating the effects of social relationships on wellbeing have applied social network measures to reported social contacts. Recent advances in the application of bio-loggers in biological studies have now made it possible to quantify social relationships based on in-person, rather than self-reported, social interactions. We used GPS-derived in-camp and out-of-camp proximity data to analyse how in-person proximity is related to Hair Cortisol Concentration (HCC) among Hadza hunter-gatherers. Time spent in close proximity to other camp members was associated with higher HCC, especially in women. In contrast, individuals who spent more time in close out-of-camp proximity to their best friend experienced lower HCC. Our study suggests that physiological costs related to group living might be mitigated by in-person interactions with close friends. We also find that the location (i.e., in-camp vs out-of-camp) of proximity to others and self-perceived friends is associated with HCC among the Hadza.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105294
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2022


  • Humans
  • Female
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Social Interaction

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