Mood disorders (MD) affect nearly 15% of youth and are severely debilitating. Mood impairments are often expressed through difficulties with adaptive emotion regulation that present clinically as persistent hyper- or hypo-reactivity of emotions (i.e., increased elation, irritability or anhedonia), and excessive approach or avoidance behaviors, resulting in significant psychosocial difficulties. Consistent with strategies set forthby the NIMH Research Domain Criteria, this project aims to characterize symptoms ...based on dimensions of observable behaviors and brain functions with a particular focus on biomarkers and behaviors associated with the positive and negative valence systems, such as approach motivation and response to reward/non-reward. This proposal aims to use neurophysiological markers (electroencephalography [EEG] and event-related potentials [ERPs]) of approach motivation and reward/non-reward sensitivity, as well as behavioral response (distress tolerance), to predict mood stability in 60 youth with MD. Identifying markers of symptom maintenance will elucidate intervention targets and aid in treatment selection. The study involves a single laboratory assessment and two symptom follow-up assessments at 3- and 6-months. This proposal provides the optimal training for the applicant to gain expertise in EEG methods and analysis needed to conduct independent, patient-oriented, neurodevelopmental research on neural mechanisms associated with approach motivation and reward sensitivity.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal will provide the training to advance novel translational interventions for youth with mood dysregulation through the opportunity to acquire expertise in EEG methodology and advanced signal processing, as well as hone skills in the symptom course of developmental psychopathology. This study will link the neural patterns associated with approach motivation and reward/loss sensitivity with behavior (i.e., distress tolerance) and symptom stability in youth with mood dysregulation. Elucidating the neurophysiological processes of the Behavioral Approach System (BAS) underlying symptom stability will improve illness classification and treatment development.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Child Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities Study Section (CPDD)
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Sarampote, Christopher S
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University of California Los Angeles
Schools of Medicine
Los Angeles
United States
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Ellis, Alissa J; Salgari, Giulia; Miklowitz, David et al. (2018) Is distress tolerance an approach behavior? An examination of frontal alpha asymmetry and distress tolerance in adolescents. Psychiatry Res 267:210-214
Ellis, Alissa J; Kinzel, Chantelle; Salgari, Giulia C et al. (2017) Frontal alpha asymmetry predicts inhibitory processing in youth with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Neuropsychologia 102:45-51
Ellis, Alissa J; Shumake, Jason; Beevers, Christopher G (2016) The effects of respiratory sinus arrhythmia on anger reactivity and persistence in major depression. Psychophysiology 53:1587-99