Abstract # 80:

Scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2008 04:15 PM-04:25 PM: Session 8 (Meeting Room 1GHI) Oral Presentation


The long-term impact of maternal maltreatment on affiliative, aggressive, and defensive behavior in rhesus macaques

A. P. Grand1,2, N. T. Sawyer2, D. Maestripieri2,3, M. M. Sanchez2,4 and K. M. McCormack2,5
1Univ. of Georgia, Dept. of Psychology, Athens, GA, USA, 2Yerkes National Primate Res. Ctr., Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA, 3Institute for Mind and Biology, Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 4Dept. of Psychiatry & Behav. Sci., Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA, 5Dept. of Psychology, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
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     Common behavioral outcomes of child maltreatment are anxiety, aggression, and difficulty developing peer relationships. The purpose of this study was to determine the long-term behavioral effects of maternal maltreatment in non-human primates. Subjects were 10 rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), maternally abused as infants, and 10 controls. At 4 years of age, 5 hours of focal social group observations were collected per subject. Aggressive behavior displayed by the subject and responses of the subject to aggressive behavior (aggressive, submissive, defensive, and nervous behavior) were recorded. Instantaneous scan samples were collected during the focal observations, and the observer recorded how many group members the subject was in contact and proximity with. Abused subjects displayed more aggression (15.27 ± 2.92) than controls (9.54 ± 1.42) [N=17; z=1.68, p=0.047]. Abused animals were also more likely to respond to aggression with aggression [N=17; z=4.04, p=0.04]. However, abused subjects were not more likely to respond to aggression with defensive or nervous behavior than controls. The proportion of time in contact and proximity with group members out of the total number of scans did not differ between abused and control subjects [N=17; z=1.35, p=0.09]. This study provides evidence that maternal abuse in rhesus macaques can result in long-term behavioral changes similar to those seen in maltreated children.