Date of Award

12-18-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Cooke

Second Advisor

Dr. Bradley M. Cooke

Abstract

Females are disproportionately affected by stress- related mood disorders. Child abuse is the single greatest environmental risk factor for mood disorders. An animal model of child abuse, juvenile social subjugation (JSS), was used to determine whether males and females differentially process stress, specifically in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST). Rats (n=36) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: JSS, Benign Control (BC) or Handled Control (HC). Following this procedure, brains were processed for Fos, which indicates neural activity. It was hypothesized that the JSS condition would evoke more neural activation than other conditions and would do so more in females. Across both sexes, we hypothesized there would be significantly more activation in the posterior BST than in the anterior BST. Based on earlier research, we hypothesized there would be and a sex difference in total neuron number, favoring males, in the posterior BST.

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