Association of Predeployment Gaze Bias for Emotion Stimuli With Later Symptoms of PTSD and Depression in Soldiers Deployed in Iraq

Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.
American Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 13.56). 03/2011; 168(7):735-41. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.10091309
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Biased processing of emotion stimuli is thought to confer vulnerability to psychopathology, but few longitudinal studies of this link have been conducted. The authors examined the relationship between predeployment gaze bias for emotion stimuli and later symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in soldiers deployed to Iraq.
An eye-tracking paradigm was used to assess line of gaze in 139 soldiers while they viewed a two-by-two matrix of fearful, sad, happy, and neutral facial expressions before they were deployed to Iraq. Once they were deployed, the soldiers periodically reported on their levels of war zone stress exposure and symptoms of PTSD and depression.
War zone stress exposure predicted higher scores on PTSD and depression symptom measures; however, eye gaze bias moderated this relationship. In soldiers with war zone stress exposure, shorter mean fixation time when viewing fearful faces predicted higher PTSD symptom scores, and greater total fixation time and longer mean fixation time for sad faces predicted higher depressive symptom scores.
Biased processing of emotion stimuli, as measured by gaze bias, appears to confer vulnerability to symptoms of PTSD and depression in soldiers who experience war zone stress.

1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Endophenotypes are proposed to occupy an intermediate position in the pathway between genotype and phenotype in genetically complex disorders such as depression. To be considered an endophenotype, a construct must meet a set of criteria proposed by Gottesman and Gould (2003). In this qualitative review, we summarize evidence for each criterion for several putative endophenotypes for depression: neuroticism, morning cortisol, frontal asymmetry of cortical electrical activity, reward learning, and biases of attention and memory. Our review indicates that while there is strong support for some depression endophenotypes, other putative endophenotypes lack data or have inconsistent findings for core criteria.
    Clinical Psychology Review 07/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.cpr.2014.06.003 · 7.18 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Posttraumatic stress disorder is often diagnosed with other mental health problems, particularly depression. Although PTSD comorbidity has been associated with more severe and chronic symptomology, relationships among commonly co-occurring disorders are not well understood. The purpose of this study was to review the literature regarding the development of depression comorbid with combat-related PTSD among military personnel. We summarize results of commonly tested hypotheses about the etiology of PTSD and depression comorbidity, including (1) causal hypotheses, (2) common factor hypotheses, and (3) potential confounds. Evidence suggests that PTSD may be a causal risk factor for subsequent depression; however, associations are likely complex, involving bidirectional causality, common risk factors, and common vulnerabilities. The unique nature of PTSD-depression comorbidity in the context of military deployment and combat exposure is emphasized. Implications of our results for clinical practice and future research are discussed.
    Clinical psychology review 12/2013; 34(2):87-98. DOI:10.1016/j.cpr.2013.12.002 · 7.18 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adolescent women with a parental history of depression are at high risk for the onset of major depressive disorder (MDD). Cognitive theories suggest this vulnerability involves deficits in cognitive control over emotional information. Among adolescent women with and without a parental history of depression, we examined differences in connectivity using resting state functional connectivity analysis within a network associated with cognitive control over emotional information. Twenty-four depression-naïve adolescent women underwent resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They were assigned to high-risk (n=11) and low-risk (n=13) groups based their parents' depression history. Seed based functional connectivity analysis was used to examine group differences in connectivity within a network associated with cognitive control. High-risk adolescents had lower levels of connectivity between a right inferior prefrontal region and other critical nodes of the attention control network, including right middle frontal gyrus and right supramarginal gyrus. Further, greater severity of the parents' worst episode of depression was associated with altered cognitive control network connectivity in their adolescent daughters. Depressed parents may transmit depression vulnerability to their adolescent daughters via alterations in functional connectivity within neural circuits that underlie cognitive control of emotional information.
    11/2013; 7C:13-22. DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2013.10.008

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 21, 2014