Affective bias and current, past and future adolescent depression: a familial high risk study.J Affect Disord. 2015 Mar 15; 174:265-71.JA
Affective bias is a common feature of depressive disorder. However, a lack of longitudinal studies means that the temporal relationship between affective bias and depression is not well understood. One group where studies of affective bias may be particularly warranted is the adolescent offspring of depressed parents, given observations of high rates of depression and a severe and impairing course of disorder in this group.
A two wave panel design was used in which adolescent offspring of parents with recurrent depression completed a behavioural task assessing affective bias (The Affective Go/No Go Task) and a psychiatric interview. The affective processing of adolescents with current, prior and future depressive disorder was compared to that of adolescents free from disorder.
Adolescents with current depression and those who developed depression at follow-up made more commission errors for sad than happy targets compared to adolescents free from disorder. There was no effect of prior depression on later affective processing.
Small cell sizes meant we were unable to separately compare those with new onset and recurrent depressive disorder.
Valence-specific errors in behavioural inhibition index future vulnerability to depression in adolescents already at increased risk and may represent a measure of affective control. Currently depressed adolescents show a similar pattern of affective bias or deficits in affective control.