Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety

PS11- #B43 - The Role of Working Memory: Mediation of Negative Self-Statements in Social Anxiety and Depressive Symptomatology in Youth

Saturday, Nov 18
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Child Anxiety | Child Depression | Cognitive Processes

In youth, Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is associated with persistent/recurrent major depressive disorder and is associated with a worse prognosis, more chronic major depression, and poorer past social functioning. A better understanding of factors that maintain SAD has important implications. One such factor, negative self-statements, has been found to be critical in the development and maintenance of mood dysregulation in youth. Also, working memory has been shown to influence or be influenced by maladaptive cognitions. Our goal was to delineate the role negative self-statements and working memory have in the relationship between social anxiety and depressive symptomatology in youth. It was hypothesized that negative self-statements (i.e., Children’s Automatic Thoughts Scale) would mediate the relationship between social anxiety (i.e., Social Anxiety index, Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children) and depressive symptomatology (i.e., Negative Mood Subscale, Children’s Depression Inventory), and this relationship would be moderated by working memory (i.e., Digit Span Backward and Letter-Number Sequencing subtests composite, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, fourth Edition).

The sample was 198 youth between 7 and 16 years of age (M=10.99, SD=2.4; largely male 67%, White 83%). A moderated mediation model was examined with negative self-statements as a mediator of the relationship between social anxiety symptoms and depressive symptoms; working memory was examined as a moderator of both strength of the relationship between social anxiety symptoms and negative self-statements and negative self-statements and depression. Analyses used the PROCESS macro in SPSS (Hayes, 2013). Results supported our hypothesis: working memory moderated the relationship between negative-self statements and depression (p < .05), but it did not moderate the relationship between social anxiety symptoms and negative self-statements (p > .05). Increased social anxiety predicted more negative-self statements (B = .44, p < .05) (F (1, 157) = 14.52, p 2 = .20). Increased negative self-statements significantly predicated greater depressive symptoms (B = .37, p B = -.24, p < .05), F (1, 157) = 3.99, p 2 = .27). Negative self-statements more strongly mediated the relationship between social anxiety and depressive symptoms in those with poorer working memory. We discuss the role these results may have in relation to the assessment and treatment of mood disorders in youth.

Peter J. Castagna

Graduate Student
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Matthew Calamia

Assistant Professor
Louisiana State University

Thompson E. Davis

Associate Professor
Louisiana State University

Amber A. LeBlanc

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Louisiana State University