Social Instability Produces Psychiatric Disorders in Three Generations (of Mice)


Disruptions in social stability during the mouse equivalent of adolescence and young adulthood produced anxiety and social deficits that persisted into successive generations of mice. The authors of this study in Biological Psychiatry conclude that “individual risk for psychiatric disorders that involve enhanced anxiety and/or social dysfunction may be dependent not only on the specific alleles of genes that are inherited from one’s parents and on one’s own experiences, but also on the experiences of one’s parents when they were young.”

Abstract → 

Saavedra-Rodriguez, L., Feig, L., Chronic Social Instability Induces Anxiety and Defective Social Interactions Across Generations. Biological Psychiatry. online August 18, 2012

Previous articleDisavow A Paxil Study Once And For All?
Next articleUpdate on DSM-5 by 1 Boring Old Man
Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. How many more mice will it take before we realize that social environment plays a role in mental health?

    And how many of these experiments will it take before we become aware that people are far more complex than mice, and are not victims of their genetic codes?

    And how many times will we intentionally disable the brains of mice/rats with powerful toxins (psychiatric drugs)before we realize that duplicating the process in human brains is not only unhealthy, but immoral?

    Note to psychiatry:

    This ain’t rocket science.
    In fact, it’s not “science” at all!


    Report comment