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J Abnorm Psychol. 2007 Feb;116(1):135-43.

Biased processing of emotional information in girls at risk for depression.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Researchers have documented that children of depressed mothers are at elevated risk for developing a depressive disorder themselves. There is currently little understanding, however, of what factors place these children at elevated risk. In the present study, the authors investigated whether never-disordered daughters whose mothers have experienced recurrent episodes of depression during their daughters' lifetime are characterized by biased processing of emotional information. Following a negative mood induction, participants completed an emotional-faces dot-probe task. Daughters at elevated risk for depression, but not control daughters of never-disordered mothers, selectively attended to negative facial expressions. In contrast, only control daughters selectively attended to positive facial expressions. These results provide support for cognitive vulnerability models of depression.

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