Gender differences in emotional reactivity of depressed and at-risk preschoolers: implications for gender specific manifestations of preschool depression. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol

Department of Psychiatry, Washington University, St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology (Impact Factor: 1.92). 07/2009; 38(4):525-37. DOI: 10.1080/15374410902976312
Source: PubMed


We investigated whether differences in positive and negative emotional reactivity could be found in depressed preschoolers and preschoolers at risk for later internalizing symptoms relative to nondepressed/low risk comparison groups. Observational measures of emotional reactivity, used to derive a score of the balance between anger and sadness, were obtained and analyzed in independent samples. One study utilized cross-sectional data from preschoolers (M age = 4.6 years) with a current depressive syndrome and two nondepressed comparison groups. The other study utilized longitudinal data that assessed emotional reactivity at preschool age (M age = 4.5 years) and later mental health symptoms during the transition to primary school, allowing a retrospective determination of risk. Depressed and at-risk boys displayed more anger than sadness in contrast to girls in the same groups and in contrast to no disorder/low-risk controls. This finding was detected in depressed and "at risk for internalizing" boys who were not comorbid for externalizing problems.

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