This project will examine whether deficient emotion regulation (ER) in response to interpersonal events is a vulnerability factor for MDD First, we will examine whether, compared to controls, at-risk individuals (a) respond to criticism with higher negative affect (NA), greater activation in brain areas related to NA, and less activation in brain areas related to ER, and (b) respond to praise with lower positive affect (PA) and less activation in brain areas related to experiencing pleasure. Second, using experience sampling methods (ESM), we will examine whether, compared to controls, at-risk individuals (a) respond to negative interpersonal events with higher NA and deficient ER strategies, and (b) respond to positive interpersonal events with lower PA and deficient ER strategies. Then, we will examine whether neural activation in response to interpersonal stimuli in the lab predicts affective responses to everyday interpersonal experiences. Finally, gender differences will be assessed. The sample will include 50 children of mothers with a history of MDD and a control group of 50 children of never-disordered mothers. In the first lab visit participants will complete a diagnostic interview. In the second lab visit participants will complete questionnaires assessing depression and ER strategies, an fMRI scan while listening to a recording of critical remark and praising remarks from one’s mother. Finally, they will receive training in the computerized experience-sampling diary. The diary electronic device will prompt participants 4 times a day for 14 days and will assess daily positive and negative interpersonal events, mood, and ER strategies. The examination of deficient ER in response to interpersonal events as a vulnerability factor for depression development is innovative and important. The combination of neuroimaging with ESM is a unique opportunity to translate lab findings to everyday life.
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