Honors Theses


Tracy Butler, Ph.D., Yvonne Sun, Ph.D.


Psychology, Biology

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Honors Thesis


Adolescent stress in humans has been correlated with an increased likelihood of an individual to develop an alcohol use disorder later in life. Literature has demonstrated that rats subjected to adolescent stress tend to show an increased preference and consumption of ethanol. Adolescence is a critical time of development. The link between adolescent stressors and alcohol use disorders is not fully understood yet. This study examined the relationship between adolescent stress and alcohol consumption and preference in rats. Probiotics are bacteria with potential health benefits and have been well accepted as a dietary supplement. Literature shows that probiotics could decrease rodent anxiety-like behaviors derived from adolescent stress, such as social isolation. This adolescent stress could lead to a subsequent increase in alcohol consumption in rats. An earlier study conducted at the University of Dayton showed that rats that received probiotics exhibited significantly higher anxiety-like behavior in comparison to the groups that did not. This finding contradicts the positive perception associated with probiotics, showing that some probiotics potentially have a negative impact on affective behaviors. In the current study we observed, while nonsignificant, the same trend that our lab previously showed for the rats that consumed probiotics. Moving forward, the positive and negative effects of probiotics should be further investigated.

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Undergraduate research


Biology | Psychology