Abstract # 3184 Poster # 92:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 14 (Salon G (Sixth Floor)) Poster Presentation


EFFECT OF SOCIAL SEPARATION ON MOTHER-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIPS IN INFANT RHESUS MACAQUES

A. Hipps1, W. F. Maxwell1, H. Page1, S. J. Suomi3, C. S. Barr2, M. L. Schwandt2 and J. D. Higley1
1Brigham Young University, Department of Psychology, Provo, UT 84602, USA, 2National Institutes of Health, NIAAA, LCS, 3National Institutes of Health, NICHD, LCE
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     Few studies have addressed the potential consistency and change in the mother-daughter relationship following a stressor such as social separation. This study examined mother-infant behavior in six-month-old female rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) prior to separation (Preseparation) and immediately following each separation (Reunion). The subjects were 75 mother-reared, female rhesus macaque infants living in social groups of 12-20 subjects with a social composition approximating the natural setting. Baseline behaviors were recorded for 10 days prior to, and then following 4 consecutive, 4-day-long separations. Mean differences were tested using repeated measures ANOVA. Stability of the relationship was measured using linear regression, correlating pre-separation behaviors with the same reunion behaviors measured after each separation. Results: Repeated measures ANOVA showed an increase during reunions in anxiety-like, self-directed behavior, mother-infant attachment behaviors, and distress vocalizations, with f-values between 6.234 and 190.436 (p-values range from .001 to .016). While the average changed for these behaviors, there was evidence for stability of individual differences. Significant consistency (positive correlation) between Preseparation and Reunion was found at the p<.05 level for mother-involved behaviors of reject infant (r=.301), mutual ventral (r=.297) approach by infant (r=.393), approach by mother (r=.325), leave by mother (r=.381), and leave by infant (r=.507). This study suggests that separation affects the mother-daughter relationship, perhaps making it less secure, but individual differences in the relationship remain consistent even after social separation.