The effects of escapable and yoked inescapable electric tailshocks on extracellular levels of serotonin (5-HT) in the dorsal raphe nucleus were measured by in vivo microdialysis. In comparison to either control rats or to their own preshock baseline, rats exposed to inescapable shock showed an increase in extracellular 5-HT within 25 min of shock initiation, and 5-HT levels continued to rise during the remainder of the shock session. Rats that were exposed to comparable shock treatment, but that were given the opportunity to escape, did not show an increase in 5-HT. Rats that were restrained but not shocked also did not show an increase in 5-HT. These results add further support to suggestions that serotonergic changes occur in the dorsal raphe nucleus during inescapable shock and that such changes may contribute to the behavioral effects of inescapable shock.