Abstract # 102:

Scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2007 01:45 PM-02:00 PM: Session 11 (North Main Hall C/D) Oral Presentation

Variation in Early Parental Care Influences Stress Reactivity in Juvenile Geoffroy's Marmosets (Callithrix Geoffroyi)

A. M. Burrell and J. A. French
University of Nebraska at Omaha, Department of Psychology, Omaha, NE 68182, USA
     The mother-infant relationship in primates is important for sociophysiological development, and variation in this relationship affects the development of the HPA axis. The extent to which variation in early care can influence stress reactivity has not been investigated in a cooperatively breeding primate. We examined the hypothesis that variation in early parental care would influence stress reactivity later in life. Marmosets were briefly separated (8 hr) from their families at six months of age, and urine samples were collected hourly to assess cortisol and stress reactivity. Baseline cortisol levels in male marmosets (N=5) were positively correlated with paternal care received during the first month of life [r(3)=0.90, p<0.05]. The peak cortisol response of male marmosets was also positively correlated with paternal care [r(3)=0.91, p<0.05], and negatively correlated with maternal care [r(3)=-0.95, p<0.05]. Regulation of the stress response was also related to paternal [r(3)=0.97, p<0.01) and maternal [r(3)=-0.98, p<0.01] care. Sample size for female marmosets was small (N=3), but results were consistent with those for males. The results of this study suggest that mothers and fathers are differentially associated with reactivity, perhaps because they provide different types of care to offspring. Thus, parental care is related to stress reactivity in marmosets, suggesting that early parental care and family context are important to the development of stress response systems. Supported by NSF (00-91030) and NICHD (HD 42882).