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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2003

Stereotypies and behavioural medicine: confusions in current thinking

Low, M


Stereotypies are defined as being repetitive, unvarying behaviours that appear to have no goal or function. This group of behaviours presents itself commonly in clinical behavioural practice. In recent companion animal behaviour literature the nomenclature has been changed to obsessive-compulsive disorder without considering the confusion this may create. Theories about the role endorphins play as a cause of stereotypies and an assumption about stereotypies playing a 'coping' role have been presented as scientific fact with little evidence supporting them. A failure to consider changes associated with stereotypy maturation and a reliance on anecdotal treatment success has lead to confusion regarding certain aspects of the development, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. In this paper I present the idea that much of our confusion surrounding stereotypies is created by attempts to oversimplify a complex phenomenon

Published in

Australian Veterinary Journal
2003, volume: 81, number: 4, pages: 192-198

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science
Veterinary Science

Publication Identifiers


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