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J Comp Psychol. 2013 Aug;127(3):337-40. doi: 10.1037/a0032823.

Mood and anxiety disorders in chimpanzees (pan troglodytes): A response to Rosati et al. (2012).

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Department of Medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20037, USA.


Assessing the psychological health of nonhuman primates living in captivity is essential, since many experiments and behavioral observations involve captive animals. This area is a research priority because it has ethical consequences, in addition to its applications for understanding human and nonhuman primate behavior. In 2011, we published our international study's findings that chimpanzees with prior histories of experimentation, orphanage, illegal seizure, or violent human conflict were more likely to display signs of mood and anxiety disorders, compared with chimpanzees living in the wild. Here, in response to Rosati and colleagues (2012), we address methodological challenges relevant to the application of human diagnostic psychiatric criteria to nonverbal animals. We also review the importance of understanding psychopathology using a holistic approach based on evolutionary psychiatry and suggest a way forward, integrating ethological, veterinary, and human psychiatric approaches.

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