Behavioral and pituitary - adrenal responses during a prolonged separation period in infant rhesus macaques

Megan R. Gunnar, Carol A. Gonzalez, Beth L. Goodlin, Seymour Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Scopus citations


(1) Separation of infant rhesus macaques from their mothers for 2 weeks induced brief plasma cortisol elevations which returned to near pre-separation levels within 24 hr. (2) Changes in locomotion and distress (whoo) calls paralleled the changes within 24 hr after separation in pituitary - adrenal activity, thus indicating a short-term biobehavioral response to separation in the infant rhesus macaque. (3) Separated infants were behaviorally agitated throughout the separation period, and some behaviors indicative of the "despair" response were infrequently observed. (4) Individual differences in pituitary - adrenal response to separation and reunion were related to aspects of the mother - infant relationship prior to separation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-75
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes



  • attachment
  • Pituitary - adrenal system
  • rhesus macaques
  • separation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychology(all)

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