Sleep deprivation (SD) impairs attention, executive function, and affect regulation. Although understudied, understanding relationships between sleep and affect regulation may reveal important pathways by which sleep disturbances lead to psychiatric disorders. This is particularly relevant to the onset of depression during adolescence and early adulthood, as these developmental periods are associated with SD and increased risk for affective psychopathology. Experimental studies consistently find negative effects of SD on self-reported mood in healthy individuals. An important next step is to objectively quantify the impact of SD on affect reactivity and regulation, and to examine inter-individual variability in affective impairments using more precise objective and quantifiable methods. The candidate, Peter L. Franzen, Ph.D., has examined arousal and information processing during the sleep state in healthy and patient populations. He seeks further training to examine the pathways by which SD alters affect regulation and ultimately address the role of SD in the development of mood disorders. In the proposed research studies, the impact of SD on psychophysiological and neuroimaging indicators of affect reactivity/regulation will be examined in young adults - a developmentally vulnerable period for the development of mood disorders. It will lead to an R01 proposal investigating the impact of SD on objective indicators of affect regulation in young at adults at low and high familial risk for depression. Carefully examining the effects of SD on affect regulation under controlled conditions may reveal predictors of sleep disturbance-related trait vulnerability for psychopathology, and is a first step toward developing mechanistic models of the role of sleep in mental health. The identification of sleep-related risk factors in such vulnerable populations may suggest not only therapeutic but also preventative strategies to reduce the psychiatric and neurobehavioral consequences of sleep loss. Research will be conducted at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, a world center for research in the areas of sleep, mood disorders, and affective neuroscience. Researchers with expertise in these areas will serve as mentors and consultants. Relevance: Many people experience negative mood effects when sleep deprived. By further understanding how sleep loss leads to emotional impairments, the relationship between sleep and healthy emotional functioning may be revealed, and prevention and intervention strategies to reduce the onset of mood disorders may be developed. This is particularly relevant in young adulthood - a time of life characterized by insufficient sleep and increased risk for the development of mood disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress and Health Study Section (MESH)
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Vogel, Michael W
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University of Pittsburgh
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