Ethology, Neurophysiology, Neuropharmacology, Sex Differences, and Effects of Stress on the Defensive Burying Paradigm: A Review
The defensive burying paradigm can inform how stressor controllability affects stress adaptation, which has clinical implications with regards to adaptive coping responses following presentation with a stressful situation. Active coping (notably defensive burying) is associated with a controllable stressor, promoting stress adaptation, thus decreases stress hormone levels. In opposition, chronic stress and uncontrollable stressors lead to an increase in passive coping behaviours, with elevated stress hormone levels. Several brain regions have been implicated in active and passive coping, as well as neurotransmitter systems, which can be evaluated via pharmacological manipulation. No sex differences were found in defensive burying, although there were effects of sex hormones within sex.