Scratching as a behavioral index of anxiety in macaque mothers

Alfonso Troisi, Gabriele Schino, Monica D'Antoni, Nicoletta Pandolfi, Filippo Aureli, Francesca R. D'Amato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the validity of the notion that anxiety influences maternal style in monkeys. To this end, we investigated the correlations between measures of the quality of mother-infant relationship and scratching, a behavior pattern that reflects a state of anxiety. The subjects were seven group-living macaque mothers and their infants observed during the first 12 weeks postpartum. Postpartum scratching by the mothers was positively correlated with both maternal possessiveness and maternal warmth, two composite measures of the quality of mother-infant relationship that reflect a possessive and attentive maternal style. Evaluation of the correlations between maternal rank and scratching before and after parturition indicated that interactions with their infants, not those with other group companions, were the main source of anxiety for the mothers. These results support the notion that anxiety influences maternal style in monkeys and suggest that studies aimed at investigating physiological and social correlates of maternal emotionality in nonhuman primates could use scratching as a useful and simple behavioral measure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-313
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral and Neural Biology
Volume56
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Scratching as a behavioral index of anxiety in macaque mothers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Troisi, A., Schino, G., D'Antoni, M., Pandolfi, N., Aureli, F., & D'Amato, F. R. (1991). Scratching as a behavioral index of anxiety in macaque mothers. Behavioral and Neural Biology, 56(3), 307-313. https://doi.org/10.1016/0163-1047(91)90469-7