London: Spending time with your closest buddy during difficult times can be quite helpful, as a study conducted on children has found being in such company can reduce stress levels.

“One of the interesting things about these findings is that it's not just any friend - it's the best friend,” said Ryan Adams, the study's lead author and an Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre.

During the study, 100 children aged ten to 12 were asked to fill out a diary five times a day for four school days. They were asked to rate how they felt about what they'd experienced in the past 20 minutes.

They were also asked whether they'd been alone or with parents, siblings, a best friend, a boy or girl friend, classmates, strangers, teachers or some other person.

They had their saliva samples taken for measuring their stress hormone cortisol,  a steroid hormone, produced by the adrenal gland and is released in response to stress.

Researchers found that the presence of a best friend, more than anyone else, buffered the physical effects of a negative experience, so the child produced less cortisol. But when no friend was around during stressful times, cortisol levels shot up.

Though this study was conducted on children, experts say its findings are likely to be applicable on people of adult age too.

(Agencies)