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Depression in early adolescence : the influence of emotion on cognitive control processes

Laura Wante (UGent)
(2017)
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(UGent) and (UGent)
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Abstract
Recent theories suggest that impaired cognitive control in response to emotional information plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of depression and underlie the emotion regulation problems that characterize depressed individuals. While specific cognitive control deficits when processing negative information have been clearly demonstrated in adults, the influence of emotional stimuli on cognitive control processes has received scant empirical attention in depressed or dysphoric adolescents. Therefore, the major aim of this project was to investigate the influence of emotion on three key executive processes (working memory, inhibition, and shifting) in adolescents with (sub)clinical depressive symptoms. In a first cross-sectional questionnaire study it was examined whether impairments in everyday executive functioning lead to depressive symptoms through emotion regulation ability. In the four subsequent experimental studies, we aimed to explore which specific EF impairments underlie emotion dysregulation in depressed adolescents. In study 2 and study 3 we focused on the effect of emotional information on WM performance with the use of an emotional n-back task (study 2) and a memory-guided saccadic eye movement task (study 3). In study 4, our goal was to explore interference and inhibition processes in dysphoric adolescents by employing a Negative Affective Priming Task. Finally, in the fifth study, we aimed to take another step further by exploring internal cognitive control instead of external cognitive control processes by using an Internal Shifting task. The results of the first study demonstrated that the association between executive functioning impairments and depressive symptoms is partially mediated by an increased use of maladaptive emotion regulation strategies and a decreased use of adaptive strategies. Curiously, two patterns of results emerged from the experimental studies, with one indicating unaffected cognitive control in the context of emotional information, while the other showed a deleterious effect of negative emotion on cognitive control processes in dysphoric adolescents. Clinically, the findings of the current project suggest impaired cognitive flexibility in response to emotional information in adolescents suffering from depressive symptoms. Future research is needed to replicate our findings and extend our results by conducting multiple tasks to measure one specific executive process in both depressed and dysphoric adolescents.
Keywords
Depression, Adolescence, Cognitive Control, Emotion Regulation

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Wante, Laura. 2017. “Depression in Early Adolescence : the Influence of Emotion on Cognitive Control Processes.”
APA
Wante, L. (2017). Depression in early adolescence : the influence of emotion on cognitive control processes.
Vancouver
1.
Wante L. Depression in early adolescence : the influence of emotion on cognitive control processes. 2017.
MLA
Wante, Laura. “Depression in Early Adolescence : the Influence of Emotion on Cognitive Control Processes.” 2017 : n. pag. Print.
@phdthesis{8540759,
  abstract     = {Recent theories suggest that impaired cognitive control in response to emotional information plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of depression and underlie the emotion regulation problems that characterize depressed individuals. While specific cognitive control deficits when processing negative information have been clearly demonstrated in adults, the influence of emotional stimuli on cognitive control processes has received scant empirical attention in depressed or dysphoric adolescents. Therefore, the major aim of this project was to investigate the influence of emotion on three key executive processes (working memory, inhibition, and shifting) in adolescents with (sub)clinical depressive symptoms. In a first cross-sectional questionnaire study it was examined whether impairments in everyday executive functioning lead to depressive symptoms through emotion regulation ability. In the four subsequent experimental studies, we aimed to explore which specific EF impairments underlie emotion dysregulation in depressed adolescents. In study 2 and study 3 we focused on the effect of emotional information on WM performance with the use of an emotional n-back task (study 2) and a memory-guided saccadic eye movement task (study 3). In study 4, our goal was to explore interference and inhibition processes in dysphoric adolescents by employing a Negative Affective Priming Task. Finally, in the fifth study, we aimed to take another step further by exploring internal cognitive control instead of external cognitive control processes by using an Internal Shifting task. The results of the first study demonstrated that the association between executive functioning impairments and depressive symptoms is partially mediated by an increased use of maladaptive emotion regulation strategies and a decreased use of adaptive strategies. Curiously, two patterns of results emerged from the experimental studies, with one indicating unaffected cognitive control in the context of emotional information, while the other showed a deleterious effect of negative emotion on cognitive control processes in dysphoric adolescents. Clinically, the findings of the current project suggest impaired cognitive flexibility in response to emotional information in adolescents suffering from depressive symptoms. Future research is needed to replicate our findings and extend our results by conducting multiple tasks to measure one specific executive process in both depressed and dysphoric adolescents.},
  author       = {Wante, Laura},
  keyword      = {Depression,Adolescence,Cognitive Control,Emotion Regulation},
  language     = {eng},
  school       = {Ghent University},
  title        = {Depression in early adolescence : the influence of emotion on cognitive control processes},
  year         = {2017},
}