Social stress models in rodents: Towards enhanced validity

J M Koolhaas, S F de Boer, B Buwalda, P Meerlo

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Understanding the role of the social environment in the development of stress related diseases requires a more fundamental understanding of stress. Stress includes not only the stimulus and the response but also the individual appraisal of the situation. The social environment is not only essential for survival it is at the same time an important source of stressors. This review discusses the social stress concept, how it has been studied in rodents in the course of time and some more recent insights into the appraisal process. In addition to the factors controllability and predictability, outcome expectancy and feedback of the victim's own actions during the social stress are suggested to be important factors in the development of stress related disease. It is hypothesized that individual differences in the way in which these factors are used in the appraisal of everyday life situations may explain individual vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-112
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of stress
Issue numberSI
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2017


  • stress
  • stress response
  • stress disorders
  • animal model

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