Selected executive skills in adolescents with recent first episode major depression

Developmental Psychiatry Section, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, UK.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 10/2005; 46(9):995-1005. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00400.x
Source: PubMed


To investigate whether recent first episode major depression in adolescence is characterised by selected executive difficulties in attentional flexibility, behavioural inhibition and decision-making.
Selected executive functions were compared in adolescents with recent (past year) first episode major depression (n = 30) and community controls (n = 49). Three computerised tests within the CANTAB battery were completed by all subjects (the Intra-Dimensional, Extra-Dimensional Set-Shifting task, the Affective Go, No-Go task, and the Decision-Making task).
Compared with controls, recently depressed cases displayed a bias towards negative stimuli with fewer errors on sad words as well as being more accurate in their responses to sad targets on the Affective Go, No-Go task. Cases also made faster decisions in the context of betting more of their available points compared to controls, as indexed by the Decision-Making task. These results were not influenced by age, gender, IQ, recent mood, severity of depression, medication or comorbidity.
Adolescents with recent first episode major depression show greater attention towards sad stimuli and more impulsive behaviour when making decisions. They were able to switch attentional set to neutral stimuli. This study demonstrates that computerised tests for measuring executive functions can be successfully deployed in adolescents, and suggests that specific patterns of neuropsychological functions may be relatively compromised in first episode major depression. These, together with their underlying neural substrates, deserve further investigation within this age range.

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    • "Against this background, our purpose was to examine interference and inhibition toward negative stimuli in dysphoric youngsters, with the use of a NAP paradigm. Clearly, past research on depression-related attentional biases either has used a broad range of positively and negatively valenced words (e.g.,Joormann, 2004;Joormann & Gotlib, 2010;Kyte et al., 2005) or has relied on sad faces (e.g.,Goeleven et al., 2006;Joormann, Talbot, & Gotlib, 2007). Based on previous notions that faces are more ecologically valid and stronger than verbal stimuli (Bradley et al., 1997), our research sought to examine attentional processes in response to emotional faces. "
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive theories emphasize the importance of attentional biases in the development and maintenance of depression. Noteworthy, recent studies indicate that depression-related biases only occur in later stages of attentional processing. This is consistent with the idea that attention is a multicomponent process, consisting of at least two mechanisms: selection and inhibition. Therefore, this study aims to investigate interference and inhibition toward angry and happy stimuli in dysphoric adolescents compared to nondysphoric adolescents. To examine interference and inhibition of emotional information in 21 dysphoric (17 girls) and 28 nondysphoric adolescents (17 girls), 10–16 years of age, a Negative Affective Priming task was used. In this task, a target has to be evaluated as positive or negative while ignoring a distractor. As expected, dysphoric adolescents showed both higher interference from and higher inhibition of angry stimuli relative to nondysphoric adolescents. In contrast, happy stimuli did not lead to interference and consequently did not have to be inhibited in either group. Finally, a positive relation was found between interference and the subsequent inhibition of emotional stimuli. These observations confirm the existence of a bias toward angry faces in dysphoric adolescents and indicate a higher inhibition of angry faces in dysphoric adolescents compared to nondysphoric adolescents. The obtained results are different from those of similar previous studies in depressed or dysphoric adults using sad faces or negatively valenced words and might reveal important emotion-specific or age-specific inhibitory biases.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology
    • "Children with FASD have elevated rates of comorbid psychological disorders such as major depressive disorder , anxiety, ODD, CD, and ADHD (e.g., D'Onofrio et al. 2007;Disney et al. 2008;Fryer et al. 2007; Mattson and Riley 2000;Steinhausen and Spohr 1998). Further, ADHD (e.g.,Buss et al., 2012;Mattson et al. 2011for review), ODD (e.g.,Thorell and Wåhlstedt 2006), CD (e.g.,Oosterlaan et al. 2005), depression (e.g.,Kyte et al. 2005) and anxiety disorders (e.g.,Lewin et al. 2014;Owens et al. 2012) are independently associated with EF difficulties. Thus, comorbid psychological disorders may compound EF deficits within the FASD population. "
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    ABSTRACT: Prenatal alcohol exposure is associated with a constellation of adverse physical, neurocognitive and behavior outcomes, which comprise a continuum of disorders labeled Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Extant research has consistently identified executive functions (EF) as a central impairment associated with FASD. Despite this, heterogeneity exists regarding the strength of the association between FASD and different EF, and this association has not yet been quantitatively synthesized. The current meta-analysis reviews 46 studies that compare children and adolescents with FASD to participants without FASD, on a variety of EF measures. In accordance with Miyake et al. Cognitive Psychology, 41, 49– 100 (2000) three-factor model of EF, findings for the primary EF domains of working memory, inhibition, and set shifting are reviewed. Results indicate that children and adolescents with FASD demonstrate significant deficits across these EF, although the magnitude of effects diverged between EF, with working memory and inhibition yielding medium effects and set shifting yielding large effects. These results were moderated by sample characteristics, type of FASD diagnosis, and EF methodology. This quantitative synthesis offers novel future research directions.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Neuropsychology Review
    • "Thus, results from the adult literature on the neural bases of auditory selective attention cannot be generalized to youth suffering from MD without confirmatory developmental approaches. Second, a number of neuropsychological studies have shown that behavioral performance in a range of attentional tasks, including tasks of selective attention, is intact in youth with MD, at least when neutral (as opposed to emotional) stimuli are presented (Gunther et al., 2004; Kyte et al., 2005; but see, e.g., Han et al., 2012). This stands in contrast to the data provided by the majority of neuropsychological studies conducted with depressed adults in this research field (Austin et al., 2001; Porter et al., 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background Major depression (MD) is associated with deficits in selective attention. Previous studies in adults with MD using event-related potentials (ERPs) reported abnormalities in the neurophysiological correlates of auditory selective attention. However, it is yet unclear whether these findings can be generalized to MD in adolescence. Thus, the aim of the present ERP study was to explore the neural mechanisms of auditory selective attention in adolescents with MD. Methods 24 male and female unmedicated adolescents with MD and 21 control subjects were included in the study. ERPs were collected during an auditory oddball paradigm. Results Depressive adolescents tended to show a longer N100 latency to target and non-target tones. Moreover, MD subjects showed a prolonged latency of the P200 component to targets. Across groups, longer P200 latency was associated with a decreased tendency of disinhibited behavior as assessed by a behavioral questionnaire. Limitations To be able to draw more precise conclusions about differences between the neural bases of selective attention in adolescents vs. adults with MD, future studies should include both age groups and apply the same experimental setting across all subjects. Conclusions The study provides strong support for abnormalities in the neurophysiolgical bases of selective attention in adolecents with MD at early stages of auditory information processing. Absent group differences in later ERP components reflecting voluntary attentional processes stand in contrast to results reported in adults with MD and may suggest that adolescents with MD possess mechanisms to compensate for abnormalities in the early stages of selective attention.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Affective Disorders
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