Category: Parenting / Families

Symposium

The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk: Evaluating Links Between Brain and Behavior in Children at Risk for Depression

Saturday, November 18
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom B, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Depression | fMRI (Function Magnetic Resonance Imaging) | Child
Presentation Type: Symposium

Linking neural findings with behavioral indicators of risk could inform novel interventions for pediatric depression.Maternal depression is a robust risk factor for pediatric depression (e.g., Wiggins et al., 2014), and may be reflected in alterations of reward processing (Alloy et al., 2016). Thus, the current study aimed to characterize the neural substrates of reward processing in children at low-risk (LR) and high-risk (HR) for depression, as defined by maternal depression status, and evaluate the relationship between brain activation and child behavior. Children (N=46; nHR=27, nLR=19) performed a reward task during fMRI acquisition. Mother-child dyads also engaged in an interaction task coded for child behavior. Exploratory analyses evaluated whether neural responses to reward mediated the relationship between risk status and behavior (Baron & Kenny, 1986). A whole brain analysis yielded significant Group (LR vs. HR) x Performance (hit vs. miss) x Condition (reward vs. no reward) interactions in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (xyz=50,35,15; F1,44=20.01, k=71) and parahippocampal gyrus (xyz=5,-32,6; F1,44=14.88, k=46), all pcorrectedp=.054), increased negativity towards mother, increased negative affect, and decreased compliance (ps<.05) compared to the LR group. Significant results illustrating the impact of maternal depression on brain activation are reported above. However, neural responses were not significantly related to observed child behaviors, discontinuing the mediation analytical process, per Baron and Kenny (1986). Results suggest that children at high risk for depression are less able to flexibly and appropriately modulate their neural response to different reward task conditions. However, the link between brain activation and behavior in this sample remains less clear. In the final presentation, we will report on additional explorations of mediation.

Karen T. G. Schwartz

Doctoral Student
San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology

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