Understanding patterns of emotional processing and reactivity in psychological disorders may aid in identifying mechanisms contributing to dysfunctional emotional processes and areas to target in interventions1,2. In addition, the identification of precursors for psychopathology is crucial for selecting individuals at highest risk and for implementing prevention efforts3, 4. Psychophysiological measures are particularly useful for studying emotion in order to identify processes that may not be observable through behavioral observations or self-report5. While research on emotion and psychopathology is growing, little work has been conducted from a developmental psychopathology perspective. Evidence suggests that depression may be associated with reduced emotional reactivity to pleasant and unpleasant emotional stimuli6, but at least some types of anxiety disorders appear to be associated with increased reactivity to unpleasant, particularly threatening, information7-9. The late positive potential (LPP) in an event-related potential component sensitive to emotional stimuli10. There is some evidence adult depression is associated with reduced LPPs to emotional stimuli11 and at least some forms of anxiety in adults are associated with increased LPPs12,13;however, research has yet to examine associations between the LPP and depressive and anxiety symptoms in children or as a function of risk for psychopathology. The proposed project is part of a larger longitudinal study and will measure electrocortical and behavioral responses to unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant images to examine associations with depressive and anxiety symptoms in nine-year-old children and associations with risk for affective disorders (i.e., parental history of depressive or anxiety disorders) while controlling for child symptoms. In addition, principle component analysis (PCA) techniques will be used to further examine the components specific to emotional stimuli in children and associations with depression and anxiety.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed study will examine neural markers of emotional reactivity in children with depressive and anxiety symptoms and in children at increased risk for developing mood and anxiety disorders. Research on the relationships between emotional processing and psychological disorders has the potential to lead to improved understanding of the mechanisms underlying these disorders and could aid in identifying target areas for intervention1, 2. In addition, studying patterns of emotional reactivity associated with depression and anxiety from a developmental perspective is essential for early recognition of individuals at highest risk and the implementation of prevention efforts3, 4.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F02A-J (20))
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Sarampote, Christopher S
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State University New York Stony Brook
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Stony Brook
United States
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Kujawa, Autumn; Dougherty, Lea; Durbin, C Emily et al. (2014) Emotion recognition in preschool children: associations with maternal depression and early parenting. Dev Psychopathol 26:159-70
Kujawa, Autumn; Arfer, Kodi B; Klein, Daniel N et al. (2014) Electrocortical reactivity to social feedback in youth: a pilot study of the Island Getaway task. Dev Cogn Neurosci 10:140-7
Kujawa, Autumn; Klein, Daniel N; Proudfit, Greg Hajcak (2013) Two-year stability of the late positive potential across middle childhood and adolescence. Biol Psychol 94:290-6
Kujawa, Autumn; Weinberg, Anna; Hajcak, Greg et al. (2013) Differentiating event-related potential components sensitive to emotion in middle childhood: evidence from temporal-spatial PCA. Dev Psychobiol 55:539-50
Kujawa, Autumn; Smith, Ezra; Luhmann, Christian et al. (2013) The feedback negativity reflects favorable compared to nonfavorable outcomes based on global, not local, alternatives. Psychophysiology 50:134-8