Abstract # 13370 Poster # 95:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 22, 2019 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Alumni Lounge) Poster Presentation


EFFECTS OF DEPO-PROVERA ON AGGRESSION AND AFFILIATION IN GROUP HOUSED ADULT FEMALE RHESUS MACAQUES (MACACA MULATTA)

C. M. Remillard, V. Michopoulos, K. Bailey, L. A. Young, S. Moss, T. Meeker and M. A. Bloomsmith
Yerkes National Primate Research Center, 954 Gatewood RD NE, Atlanta, GA GA, USA
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     Despite the widespread use of progesterone contraceptives, there is an incomplete understanding of the long-term ramifications of Depo-Provera (Depo) on social behavior in humans or nonhuman primates. Furthermore, existing data are equivocal. The current study was designed to examine the effects of Depo on aggression and affiliation in adult female rhesus monkeys living in large social groups at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Subjects included 11 gonadally-intact females who received Depo injections and 20 gonadally-intact females who did not receive any form of contraception. Over 150 hours of behavioral data were collected on females from 3 to 19 years old, using a scan sampling method for affiliation behaviors and event sampling for conflict and status behaviors. ANOVA results indicated a main effect of Depo administration on rates of aggression initiated towards others while controlling for age, weight, and relative rank within the group (F=4.79; p=0.037). Rates of aggression were significantly lower in females on Depo compared to females not on contraceptives. There was no effect of Depo on different forms of affiliative behavior, including initiation of grooming (p=0.29) and proximity/huddling (p=0.086). Taken together, the current results suggest that Depo administration for hormonal contraception in socially housed, breeding-aged rhesus macaques may attenuate overall aggression in large breeding groups.