Developing Social Behaviors in Teens

developing social behaviors in teens

When you think about the immune system, most people automatically think of physical health. Our immune system protects us from illness, fights off common germs, and ultimately keeps us happy and healthy. Would you ever think that the immune system actually controls your social behaviors? According to a recent article by The Atlantic, new research conducted in 2015 found that the immune system plays a significant part in developing social behaviors in teens.

The Immune Systems Control Over Developing Social Behaviors in Teens

Until recently, scientists have believed that the brain—which controls our behaviors and actions—was completely separate from the body’s immune system. Recent research has shown that this is not the case. Research has shown that there is a connection between the brain and spinal cord. Both are covered in lymphatic vessels that can drain fluid and immune cells from the cerebrospinal fluid into the deep cervical lymph nodes, which are located in the neck.

Now, a new study has shown that the immune system’s connections with the central nervous system may actually affect developing social behaviors in teens. The key to the research is a molecule called interferon-gamma. These molecules are emitted into the brain, inhibiting neurons in the prefrontal cortex. This is normal, without it that region of the brain becomes overactive. Researchers found that when this occurs, people become less social.

Why would an increase in brain activity make someone less social? Researchers state that it’s just like traffic—too much traffic actually causes the flow of traffic to stop. Similar to traffic, when the brain is flooded with activity the system is unable to process certain signals—like those associated with developing social behaviors in teens. Immune system dysfunction is linked to several diseases that result in social dysfunction—dementia, schizophrenia, and autism spectrum disorder.

Researchers found that the immune system is particularly active when developing social behaviors in teens. They believe that the immune system becomes more active when socializing because individuals are at a greater risk of spreading disease in groups—so the immune system amps up to protect the body. Due to this, scientists believe that when the immune system is more active it increases someone’s social behaviors.

While this research is still new and requires more evaluation, it may be beneficial to maintain a healthy and strong immune system. Not only would it benefit you physically and emotionally, doing so could also positively help in developing social behaviors in teens.

Elevations RTC can help

Elevations RTC is a leading residential treatment center for teens, ages 13 to 18, grappling with anxiety, depression, substance use, and other emotional or behavioral issues. As a residential treatment center for teens, we try to go above and beyond other RTC’s by having not only one on-site psychiatrist, but two practitioners who see each student weekly. We also have an academic component that uses an accredited curriculum and licensed/credentialed teachers. With all of this, we strive to give each student the most efficient and beneficial experience possible.

For more information about Elevations RTC, please call today!

Elevations Quick Facts

Leading RTC Accreditations


Ages 13 – 18

Comprehensive Medical / Psych

Community-based Approach

Fun, Experiential

Accredited Academics

Real-World Setting

Recent Posts