Mother-infant separation in group-living rhesus macaques: a hormonal analysis

Developmental Psychobiology
W P SmothermanS Levine

Abstract

Adrenocortical responsiveness to separation in group-living rhesus macaque mother-infant pairs was determined. Cortisol evaluations were complemented by behavioral observations of mother-infant interactions and group social behavior. Infants, but not their mothers, showed cortisol elevations that could be attributed specifically to separation. Steroid-behavior relationships suggested that the infants of high dominant mothers evinced the greatest adrenocortical response to separation. These data exemplify the complexities involved in determining endocrine/behavior relationships in a group-living situation.

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