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.
- Biased emotional information processing
- Elevated risk
- Emotional facial expressions
- Maternal depression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology