- We review recent work on human neuroendocrine and cardiovascular responses to stable and unstable status. We describe experiments examining inter-personal and inter-group contexts, involving both experimentally created as well as naturalistic (gender, SES) status differences. Across studies the pattern of results is clear: Stable status differences are stressful for those low in status, which is evident from increased cortisol and a cardiovascular response-pattern indicative of threat (low cardiac output, high vascular resistance); however, when status differences are unstable the same effects are found among those high in status, while those low in status show challenge (low vascular resistance, high cardiac output). Potential status-loss also leads to increased testosterone. We discuss implications and suggestions for further research.