James E. Jones, PhD
Variation in symptoms in a relationship system can be explained in part by variation in the intensity of chronic anxiety in that system. Chronic anxiety is influenced by variation in objective circumstances, level of differentiation, and functional position of individuals in the system.
Examples from the animal literature are consistent with the idea that level of differentiation influences chronic anxiety and symptoms. How rats manage defeat is associated with the strength of their immune response to a foreign protein challenge. How excitable rats are in a novel situation combined with a history of sensitizing experiences influence how readily they become addicted to amphetamines. Infant rhesus monkeys who have moderate responses to a novel environment will more readily handle a separation from their mothers without becoming debilitated. Male baboons who accurately perceive threat from other males, who effectively deal with threat and/or who sustain relationships with female baboons tend to have lower basal cortisol, known to be associated with better health.