Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Anastasia Makhanova

Committee Member

Vargas, Ivan

Second Committee Member

Beike, Denise


Affiliation, Cortisol, Hormonal Contraceptives, Progestins, Stress, Women's Hormones


Affiliation is important for women during times of stress. Although, affiliation has been linked to women’s hormones across the menstrual cycle, many women use hormonal contraceptives which disrupt the links between hormones, psychology, and behavior. This study examined how hormonal contraceptives (hormonal IUD vs. the oral contraceptive pill) and menstrual cycle phase (follicular vs. luteal) are associated with affiliative motivations following the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Further, this study examined women’s cortisol reactivity and whether cortisol reactivity mediated affiliative motivation following the stressor. I found that oral contraceptive pill users projected more stress and rejection onto others’ faces and asked fewer high-disclosure questions than did other groups. Both groups of hormonal contraceptive users demonstrated blunted cortisol reactivity. However, there were no correlations between cortisol reactivity and affiliation. In sum, these findings suggest that oral contraceptive pill users have less affiliative motivation and may benefit from increased positive social contact.

Available for download on Friday, February 06, 2026