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Animal models: Trait or state measure? The test-retest reliability of the elevated plus-maze and behavioral despair

Authors
Journal
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
0278-5846
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
24
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0278-5846(00)00092-0
Keywords
  • Animal Models
  • Anxiety
  • Behavioral Despair
  • Depression
  • Elevated Plus-Maze
  • Reliability
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Design

Abstract

Abstract 1. 1. The use of animal models in certain types of psychobiological studies (for instance, the relationship between anxiety and depression) requires that the behavior measured is stable over time. 2. 2. The test-retest reliability of the elevated plus-maze indexes of anxiety and the immobility time in the behavioral despair were evaluated. 3. 3. The behavior of two groups of drug naive mice was measured on two occasions on the same test, 1 week apart, on the elevated plus-maze or on the behavioral despair and then the intraclass correlation coefficient and kappa were calculated. 4. 4. These behaviors showed a very low intraclass correlation coefficient (0.02 – 0.05) and low kappa (-0.08 – 0.21) in the test-retest design, which suggest a poor reliability of these measures. 5. 5. These results suggest that the behavioral parameters of the elevated plus-maze and the behavioral despair are not stable and therefore they are possibly more related to state than trait characteristics. Therefore they appear to be not appropriate to evaluate trait characteristics which are supposed to be stable over time without treatment.

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