Category: Treatment - Other
Keywords: Child Anxiety | Psychophysiology | Child Depression
Presentation Type: Symposium
Background: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacological treatments (i.e., selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]) are well-established treatments for youth anxiety and depression; however, response to treatment is heterogeneous across youth and many remain symptomatic after therapy, raising the need to identify prospective predictors for treatment planning. Altered neural processing of reward has been implicated in youth depression and to a lesser extent anxiety, and improving hedonic capacity is a goal of treatment, particularly CBT. However, little is known about how neural response to reward relates to improvement in depressive and anxiety symptoms among youth following treatment. The current study used the reward positivity (RewP) event-related potential (ERP) component to examine whether neural reactivity to reward would predict depression and/or anxiety symptom change following CBT and SSRI treatment among a sample of children and adolescents with anxiety and depressive disorders.
Method: Prior to beginning treatment with the SSRI sertraline or CBT, 28 youth (age 7-19 years) completed a guessing reward ERP task. Youth completed self-report measures of anxiety and depressive symptoms at pre- and post-treatment.
Results: At baseline, the RewP was negatively correlated with depression severity, r = -.44, p = .02, such that youth with higher depressive symptoms exhibited a more attenuated RewP response. Notably, a more attenuated RewP at baseline also predicted a greater reduction in youth’s depressive symptoms following treatment, t(24) = 2.67, p = .01. The RewP was unrelated to anxiety severity at baseline, r = -.04, p = .88, and did not predict change in youth’s anxiety symptoms following treatment (p = .21).
Conclusions: CBT and SSRI treatment may be most beneficial in reducing depressive symptoms for children and adolescents who demonstrate decreased reward reactivity prior to treatment. These treatments may target reward brain function, leading to greater improvement in symptoms. These effects may be strongest, and therefore most meaningful, for children and adolescents with reward-processing deficits prior to treatment.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Saturday, November 18
1:45 PM – 3:15 PM
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