Document Type

Honors Paper


Joseph Schroeder

Publication Date



Cocaine is one of the most widely used illicit substances in the world and has an addiction rate comparable to opioids. Early Life Stress (ELS) has been shown to have a profound influence on the development of an individual, showing strong correlations to the development of psychiatric disorders and psychostimulant abuse. Adolescents in particular are at a high risk for the abuse of psychostimulants such as cocaine. Previous studies have individually described the correlation between cocaine addiction and anxiety, and the correlation between ELS and cocaine addiction. Rats who have experienced some form of ELS have shown a higher levels of self-administration, but the anxiety resulting from addiction and ELS has not been observed. This study sought to examine the effects of ELS and/or adolescent cocaine exposure on anxiety-like behavior, as measured by the Elevated Plus Maze (EPM) and Open Field tests in rats. Due to complications in maternal separation and behavioral sensitization to cocaine, the relationship these variables have on expressed anxiety-like behavior is unclear.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.