...and is more relaxing than an evening with the wife or family.
A night out with the lads is good for men:
- Men suffer less anxiety and feel more protected surrounded by other men
- Scientists studied Barbary macaque apes who show human-like behaviour
- Found stress hormones were lower when male apes were with other men
- This was compared to time with their partner or family members
- With partner or family stress levels rocketed when faced with threats
- But with other men the stress levels in the same situations were lower
- Scientists said bravado of being around other males prevents stress
It might be the last news a long suffering wife or girlfriend wants to hear.
A night out with the lads is good for men, as it helps them relax, scientists claim.
In fact, male bonding is more likely to lower a man's stress levels than a night with his partner, or time spent with his family, researchers said.
Men suffer less anxiety and feel more protected surrounded by a group of other men than in other social environments.
Scientists from Germany's University of Gottingen studied groups of Barbary macaques, a type of ape which exhibits very human behaviour is its social groups.
Strangely, stress-related illnesses among macaques only seem to occur among females or both sexes within a pair.
So they monitored the levels of the stress hormone glucocorticoids among male macaques when they were with their partner, family members or in groups of other males.
If the male apes were put under stress, such as in very low temperatures or when faced with a threat, their stress levels went up.
But when faced with similar threats, their stress levels didn’t rise so high if they were in a group of other males.
This remained true among males at the top of the hierarchy in their social circle and those further down, said Dr Christopher Young, of the university's Primate Social Evolution Group.
Wild Barbary macaque males form strong social bonds with other males just as humans do, the study noted, and like humans they feel there is safety in numbers.
They feel less threatened by outsiders when in a group and this bravado helps prevent them getting stressed.
Stress levels went up during stressful situations with a man's partner or his family - such as low temperatures or a threat. The levels did not rise as high with other men. Experts said men feel less threatened by outsiders when in a group and this bravado prevents them getting stressed
They also look after each other. While men may do this by watching each other's backs, for monkeys this means picking insects and fleas out of each other's fur.
Even natural factors like cold weather appear to be less of a problem for the apes when they are out with their mates.
Dr Young added: 'Male macaques form social bonds similar to human friendships that buffer them against day-to-day stressors.
'If male primates live in multimale groups they usually fight fiercely over access to females, but males can develop friendly relationships with a few group mates.
'The strength of these "friendships" has now been shown to buffer against the negative effects of social and environmental stressors.'
The study was published in the journal PNAS.
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And I've known a few of those male apes, too! ;-)