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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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2. A Neuroimaging Study of High-Risk Children’s Reactivity to Maternal Expressed Emotion

Parental expressed emotion (EE; low warmth and/or high hostility and over-involvement) is associated with offspring major depressive disorder (MDD; Butzlaff & Hooley, 1998; Peris & Miklowitz, 2015). Studies of the relevant neurobiological mechanisms in the relationship between maternal MDD, EE, and youth outcomes have primarily used participants with a lifetime history of MDD (Hooley et al., 2005; 2009; 2012), with limited work on high-risk youth who have not yet experienced clinically significant symptoms. We therefore used a high-risk design to examine the BOLD response (via whole-brain and region of interest [ROI] analyses) of 81 children (45 boys; Mage = 11.1 years) to audio-recordings of affectively valanced maternal feedback collected from participants’ own mothers (Hooley et al., 2009). ROIs consisted of cortico-limbic structures relevant to emotional reactivity (e.g., PFC, amygdala, hippocampus, cingulate). Preliminary analyses indicate that children at high risk for MDD (n = 29 with a maternal history of recurrent MDD) showed greater functional activity in the posterior cingulate cortex when processing critical maternal feedback vs. neutral maternal feedback relative to low risk youth (n = 52 with no maternal history of MDD), consistent with past work implicating this neural substrate in the retrieval of emotional memories and ruminative thought patterns (Leech & Sharp, 2014).

Matthew Vandermeer
University of Western Ontario

Pan Liu
University of Western Ontario

Ola Mohamed Ali
University of Western Ontario

Andrew Daoust
University of Western Ontario

Marc Joanisse
University of Western Ontario

Deanna Barch
Washington University in St. Louis

Elizabeth Hayden
University of Western Ontario


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