Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Juan Duque

Second Advisor

Dr. Katherine Moore

Abstract

Mood Disorders like Depression and Anxiety have become more prevalent in our society as we have come to understand its causes and behavioral outcomes. The cause of these disorders are often unique to the individual, but the experience of stress can be a significant influence on the expression of these disorders. Early life environments have been shown to significantly impact the development of an individual. The more stress experienced, the higher chance disorders can develop. Conversely, the experience of stress can also make one more resilient to subsequent stressors. 60 Sprague Dawley were placed in a Control or Limited Bedding Environment, which has been shown to induce maternal maltreatment, from PND2-21. They were then removed from their Mother, and placed in a Standard or Enriched Environment from PND22-36 to provide a positive environment to facilitate development. Four conditions, LimitedStandard, LimitedEnriched, ControlStandard, and ControlEnriched resulted. Each rat was tested after being in each environment to determine its effect on the development of mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Depressive behaviors were examined in the Forced Swim Test though the rats immobility time. Anxious behaviors were examined in the Open Field Test through comparing time spent in center vs border. Independent and Paired t samples were conducted to determine the different environment's overall effect. The results and implications are discussed in the paper.

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Using Rats to Investigate the Relationship Between Environment and Depression/Anxiety

Mood Disorders like Depression and Anxiety have become more prevalent in our society as we have come to understand its causes and behavioral outcomes. The cause of these disorders are often unique to the individual, but the experience of stress can be a significant influence on the expression of these disorders. Early life environments have been shown to significantly impact the development of an individual. The more stress experienced, the higher chance disorders can develop. Conversely, the experience of stress can also make one more resilient to subsequent stressors. 60 Sprague Dawley were placed in a Control or Limited Bedding Environment, which has been shown to induce maternal maltreatment, from PND2-21. They were then removed from their Mother, and placed in a Standard or Enriched Environment from PND22-36 to provide a positive environment to facilitate development. Four conditions, LimitedStandard, LimitedEnriched, ControlStandard, and ControlEnriched resulted. Each rat was tested after being in each environment to determine its effect on the development of mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Depressive behaviors were examined in the Forced Swim Test though the rats immobility time. Anxious behaviors were examined in the Open Field Test through comparing time spent in center vs border. Independent and Paired t samples were conducted to determine the different environment's overall effect. The results and implications are discussed in the paper.

 
 

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