Genetically selected short attack latency (SAL) and long attack latency (LAL) male wild house mice behave differently in the defensive burying test. When challenged, SAL males respond actively with more time spent on defensive burying, whereas LAL males are more passive with more time remaining immobile. The first aim of this study was to find out whether the nonpairing part of the Y chromosome (Y(NPAR)) affects the behavioral stress response in this paradigm. Second, to determine if the differential behavioral profile found in males is also present in females, SAL and LAL females were tested. Third, nonattacking and attacking LAL males were compared. Five behavioral elements were recorded: defensive burying, immobility, rearing, grooming, and exploration. Males were first tested for attack latency. The results show that the Y(NPAR) influences defensive burying. However, the size of this effect is overshadowed by the background of the mice. Furthermore, although females differed from males, they tended to demonstrate the same behavioral profile as males. Nongenetic factors may also play a role, as attacking LAL males showed more defensive burying than nonattacking LAL males. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.