Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

Physiological aspects of chronic stress in the rhesus monkey: Effects of self -injurious behavior

Matthew D Davenport, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Assessments of stress typically involve either point samples (blood or saliva) reflecting a moment in time or state samples (urine of feces) reflecting several hours or a day. Currently, there is no way to assess chronic levels of stress without using repeated sampling procedures which are both time consuming, expensive, and possibly stressful. The purpose of this dissertation was three fold: (1) to develop a more chronic estimate of stress by measuring cortisol concentrations in hair, (2) to determine using this measure, how rhesus macaques responded to the prolonged stress of relocation, and (3) to determine the role of a proposed modulatory protein corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG) in measuring stress. Results demonstrate that cortisol can be quantified in hair and that stress reactivity can also be measured in hair. Rhesus monkeys responded to a major life stress (relocation) with a significant increase in cortisol in both hair and serum and with substantial behavioral changes. CBG concentrations failed to show alteration initially following relocation, however a significant increase was observed one year later. The findings demonstrate the importance of the cortisol/CBG relationship during a prolonged stress paradigm. Our data also provide further evidence that the free cortisol index (cortisol:CBG ratio) may be a better indicator of stress reactivity when compared to the commonly used serum cortisol concentrations.

Subject Area

Anatomy & physiology|Animals|Neurology

Recommended Citation

Davenport, Matthew D, "Physiological aspects of chronic stress in the rhesus monkey: Effects of self -injurious behavior" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3215901.