Distinct Immediate and Prolonged Effects of Separation on Plasma Cortisol in Adult Female Squirrel Monkeys

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Adult female squirrel monkeys exhibited reduced plasma cortisol levels 1 hr following separation from their female cagemate. By 6–8 days following separation, however, cortisol levels in these females had increased significantly. When each female was subsequently paired with an unfamiliar female, cortisol levels showed an additional rise 1 hr later and then declined over the following 8 days. The decline could not be accounted for by an increase in affiliation between pairmates or by a decrease in locomotor activity. Furthermore, the decline was comparable for pairs that were and were not observed to fight. These results indicate that separation of adult primates can produce slowly emerging physiological changes that differ from the immediate response to separation, and social factors other than affiliation appear to regulate endocrine activity in adult female squirrel monkeys.(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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