Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 140, 271-313

Social Defeat Stress, Sex, and Addiction-Like Behaviors


Social Defeat Stress, Sex, and Addiction-Like Behaviors

Akiko Shimamoto. Int Rev Neurobiol.


Social confrontation is a form of social interaction in animals where two conspecific individuals confront each other in dispute over territory, during the formation of hierarchies, and during breeding seasons. Typically, a social confrontation involves a prevailing individual and a yielding individual. The prevailing individual often exhibits aggressive postures and launches attacks, whereas the yielding individual often adopts postures of defeat. The yielding or defeated animals experience a phenomenon known as social defeat stress, in which they show exaggerated stress as well as autonomic and endocrine responses that cause impairment of both the brain and body. In laboratory settings, one can reliably generate social defeat stress by allowing a naïve (or already defeated) animal to intrude into a home cage in which its resident has already established a territory or is nursing. This resident-intruder paradigm has been widely used in both males and females to study mechanisms in the brain that underlie the stress responses. Stress has profound effects on drug reward for cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol, and opioids. Particularly, previous experiences with social defeat can exaggerate subsequent addiction-like behaviors. The extent of these addiction-like behaviors depends on the intensity, duration, frequency, and intermittency of the confrontation episodes. This chapter describes four types of social defeat stress: acute, repeated, intermittent, and chronic. Specifically, it focuses on social defeat stress models used in laboratories to study individual, sex, and animal strain differences in addiction-like behaviors.

Keywords: Acute; Addiction; Chronic; Individual difference; Intermittent; Maternal aggression; Repeated; Sex difference; Social defeat stress; Territorial aggression.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 3 articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources