Stress and the power of play

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Arelis, Cheryl L.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Arts and Science, 2006
Stress is thought to be antithetical to play. However, this thesis shows that mild stress (e.g., social deprivation) enhances rough-and-tumble play, as opposed to other social behaviors, in adolescent rats. Social deprivation results in both higher levels of corticosterone (a stress hormone) and higher levels of play. When non-socially deprived rats were injected with ACTH (a precursor to corticosterone), the frequency of play was elevated to levels comparable to that seen when juveniles were socially deprived. Moreover, corticosterone was reduced by the opportunity to play, but not when given social contact (but no play) or solitary exercise (i.e. a running wheel). Therefore, this thesis provides evidence that play is not only enhanced by mild stress, but that it is used by animals to reduce stress.
vi, 70 leaves ; 29 cm.
Dissertations, Academic , Play behavior in animals , Rats -- Behavior , Rats -- Effect of stress on , Stress (Psychology)