Full Program »
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).