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APA Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Negative emotionality and its facets moderate the effects of exposure to Hurricane Sandy on children’s postdisaster depression and anxiety symptoms.Open in a New Window

According to diathesis-stress models, temperament traits such as negative emotionality (NE) may moderate the effects of stressors on the development of symptoms of psychopathology, although little research has tested such models in children. Moreover, there are few data on whether specific facets of NE (sadness, fear, or anger) may specifically moderate the effects of stress on depression versus anxiety. Finally, there is a paucity of research examining whether childhood temperament moderates the effect of disaster exposure on depressive or anxiety symptoms. Hurricane Sandy, which affected many thousands of people in New York State and the surrounding regions in October 2012, offers a unique opportunity to address these gaps. Seven to eight years prior to Hurricane Sandy, 332 children 3 years old completed lab-based measures of NE and its facets. Six years later, when they were 9 years old, each mother rated her child’s depressive and anxiety symptoms. Approximately 8 weeks post-Sandy (an average of 1 year after the age 9 assessment), mothers again rated their child’s depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as a measure of exposure to stress from Hurricane Sandy. Adjusting for symptom levels at age 9, higher levels of stress from Hurricane Sandy predicted elevated levels of depressive symptoms only in participants with high levels of temperamental sadness and predicted elevated levels of anxiety symptoms only in participants high in temperamental fearfulness. These findings support the role of early childhood temperament as a diathesis for psychopathology and highlight the importance of considering facets of temperament when examining their relationship to psychopathology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Cross-species evidence for the role of interleukin-33 in depression risk.Open in a New Window

Extensive evidence highlights the role of inflammatory processes in major depressive disorder (MDD). However, most studies have examined a consistent set of inflammatory cytokines and there is evidence that other immune-derived products may play a role in MDD. In this article, we present data from 3 complimentary studies that support the role of a novel cytokine, interleukin-33 (IL-33), in depression risk. First, we show that a 2-SNP haplotype in the IL-33 gene (rs11792633 and rs7044343) moderated the link between women’s history of childhood abuse and their history of recurrent MDD (rMDD), such that the link between childhood abuse and rMDD was stronger among women with fewer copies of the protective IL-33 CT haplotype. Second, linking these findings to differences in circulating cytokine levels, we show in a separate sample that those with a history of rMDD had higher peripheral levels of IL-33 and IL-1β compared with women with a single MDD episode or no history of MDD. Third, providing initial evidence of brain regions underlying these effects using archival rat brain tissue, we show that an acute stressor increased IL-33 expression in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and, to a lesser extent, the prefrontal cortex, key brain regions underlying stress response and emotion regulation. These findings provide converging support for the potential role of IL-33 in risk for recurrent MDD. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Additive genetic contribution to symptom dimensions in major depressive disorder.Open in a New Window

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a phenotypically heterogeneous disorder with a complex genetic architecture. In this study, genomic-relatedness-matrix restricted maximum-likelihood analysis (GREML) was used to investigate the extent to which variance in depression symptoms/symptom dimensions can be explained by variation in common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a sample of individuals with MDD (N = 1,558) who participated in the National Institute of Mental Health Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study. A principal components analysis of items from the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) obtained prior to treatment revealed 4 depression symptom components: (a) appetite, (b) core depression symptoms (e.g., depressed mood, anhedonia), (c) insomnia, and (d) anxiety. These symptom dimensions were associated with SNP-based heritability (hSNP2) estimates of 30%, 14%, 30%, and 5%, respectively. Results indicated that the genetic contribution of common SNPs to depression symptom dimensions were not uniform. Appetite and insomnia symptoms in MDD had a relatively strong genetic contribution whereas the genetic contribution was relatively small for core depression and anxiety symptoms. While in need of replication, these results suggest that future gene discovery efforts may strongly benefit from parsing depression into its constituent parts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Sensitivity to parenting in adolescents with callous/unemotional traits: Observational and experimental findings.Open in a New Window

Children and adolescents with callous-unemotional (CU) traits have been distinguished as a subset of individuals with disruptive behavioral disorders who may be less sensitive to parenting influence; we test this hypothesis using multiple methods and assessment paradigms. Two hundred seventy-one adolescents (mean age = 12.6 years) from 3 samples at elevated risk for disruptive behavior disorders were studied. Symptoms of CU behavior were derived from standard questionnaire; assessments of behavioral adjustment were derived from clinical interview with parent, and parent-report, teacher-report, and self-report questionnaire. Parent–child relationship quality was based on observational assessments in which adolescent and parent behaviors were rated in 3 interaction tasks: (a) low conflict planning task; (b) problem-solving conflict task; (c) puzzle challenge task; parent interview and parent-report and child-report questionnaires of parenting were also assessed. Results indicated that the associations between parent–child relationship quality and behavioral adjustment were comparable in adolescents with and without CU traits. More notably, observational data indicated that adolescents with elevated CU traits showed comparatively greater within-individual variability in observed angry/irritable behavior across interaction tasks, suggesting greater sensitivity to and emotional dysregulation in challenging interpersonal contexts. The findings suggest that adolescents with CU are not less sensitive to parental influence and may in contrast show greater context-sensitive disturbances in emotional regulation. The results have implications for family-based assessment and treatment for adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Gendered contexts: Psychopathy and drug use in relation to sex work and exchange.Open in a New Window

Few scholars have examined psychopathology correlates of sex work. It has been suggested that sex work may reflect manifestations of impulsive-antisocial psychopathic traits (e.g., reckless disregard, delinquency) in women more than men. The current work examined relative contributions of drug dependence and distinct psychopathic features in relation to traditional forms of sex work (i.e., prostitution) in women, along with gender differences in psychopathy relationships with casual forms of sex exchange (i.e., trading sex for necessities). Study 1 included 171 community-dwelling women offenders, and Study 2 included 319 participants (42.3% women) with histories of drug use and/or violence. Participants completed the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version, prostitution was measured as self-report and/or public record data across studies, and sex exchange in Study 2 was assessed using a questionnaire based on prior research on sexual risk-taking. Findings across both studies demonstrated that although psychopathic traits, particularly impulsive-antisocial features, were associated with prostitution in women above the use of drugs, drug dependence did not moderate the relationship between psychopathic traits and prostitution in women. Analyses of Study 2 data revealed that impulsive-antisocial traits were associated with sex exchange at low, but not high, levels of interpersonal-affective traits across participants. As well, interpersonal-affective traits were significantly positively related to sex exchange in men and not significantly (and negatively) related in women. In sum, impulsive-antisocial traits related to prostitution among women, suggesting that women may manifest these traits within intimate contexts. Moreover, findings indicated gender differences in the manifestation of interpersonal-affective traits within sexual exchange contexts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Negative symptoms are associated with an increased subjective cost of cognitive effort.Open in a New Window

Motivational deficits in schizophrenia are proposed to be attributable in part to abnormal effort-cost computations. Inflated subjective cognitive effort costs may explain diminished functioning in schizophrenia to the extent that they drive avoidance of complex decision-making and planning. Although previous data support inflated subjective physical effort costs for individuals with schizophrenia, evidence on cognitive effort is mixed. We exploited the methodological advantages of a recently developed cognitive effort-discounting paradigm (Westbrook, Kester, & Braver, 2013) to examine effort-cost computations in schizophrenia. The paradigm quantifies subjective costs in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically varied demands (levels N of the N-back working memory task), holding objective features of task duration and reward likelihood constant. Both healthy participants (N = 25) and schizophrenia patients (N = 25) showed systematic influences of reward and task demands on choice patterns. Critically, however, participants with schizophrenia discounted rewards more steeply as a function of effort, indicating that effort was more costly for this group. Moreover, discounting varied robustly with symptomatology, such that schizophrenia patients with greater clinically rated negative symptom severity discounted rewards more steeply. These findings extend the current literature on abnormal-effort cost computations in schizophrenia by establishing a clear relationship between the costliness of cognitive effort and negative symptoms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Affective systems induce formal thought disorder in early-stage psychosis.Open in a New Window

Although formal thought disorder (FTD) has been described since early conceptualizations of psychosis, its underlying mechanisms are unclear. Evidence suggests FTD may be influenced by affective and cognitive systems; however, few have examined these relationships—with none focusing on early-stage psychosis (EP). In this study, positive FTD and speech production were measured in sex- and race-matched EP (n = 19) and healthy control (n = 19) groups by assessing “reactivity”—a change in experimental compared with baseline conditions—across baseline, affective, and cognitive conditions. Relationships with functioning were also examined within each group. Three key findings emerged: (a) the EP group displayed large differences in positive FTD and speech production, (b) those with EP exhibited affective reactivity for positive FTD, and (c) positive FTD and affective reactivity were linked with poor real-world functioning in EP and these relationships did not considerably change when controlling for positive symptom (e.g., delusions, hallucinations) severity. Our findings provide preliminary evidence that affective, but not cognitive, systems play a critical role in positive FTD. Affective reactivity, in particular, may aid in predicting those with EP who go on to develop serious social impairments. Future work should focus on whether affective systems differentially influence those at separate points on the psychosis-spectrum in an effort to establish evidence-based treatments for FTD. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Visual integration dysfunction in schizophrenia arises by the first psychotic episode and worsens with illness duration.Open in a New Window

Visual integration dysfunction characterizes schizophrenia, but prior studies have not yet established whether the problem arises by the first psychotic episode or worsens with illness duration. To investigate the issue, we compared chronic schizophrenia patients (SZs), first episode psychosis patients (FEs), and well-matched healthy controls on a brief but sensitive psychophysical task in which subjects attempted to locate an integrated shape embedded in noise. Task difficulty depended on the number of noise elements co-presented with the shape. For half of the experiment, the entire display was scaled down in size to produce a high spatial frequency (HSF) condition, which has been shown to worsen patient integration deficits. Catch trials—in which the circular target appeared without noise—were also added so as to confirm that subjects were paying adequate attention. We found that controls integrated contours under noisier conditions than FEs, who, in turn, integrated better than SZs. These differences, which were at times large in magnitude (d = 1.7), clearly emerged only for HSF displays. Catch trial accuracy was above 95% for each group and could not explain the foregoing differences. Prolonged illness duration predicted poorer HSF integration across patients, but age had little effect on controls, indicating that the former factor was driving the effect in patients. Taken together, a brief psychophysical task efficiently demonstrates large visual integration impairments in schizophrenia. The deficit arises by the first psychotic episode, worsens with illness duration, and may serve as a biomarker of illness progression. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

An examination of the developmental propensity model of conduct problems.Open in a New Window

The present study tested specific hypotheses advanced by the developmental propensity model of the etiology of conduct problems in the Colorado Longitudinal Twin Study, a prospective, longitudinal, genetically informative sample. High negative emotionality, low behavioral inhibition, low concern and high disregard for others, and low cognitive ability assessed during toddlerhood (age 14 to 36 months) were examined as predictors of conduct problems in later childhood and adolescence (age 4 to 17 years). Each hypothesized antisocial propensity dimension predicted conduct problems, but some predictions may be context specific or due to method covariance. The most robust predictors were observed disregard for others (i.e., responding to others’ distress with active, negative responses such as anger and hostility), general cognitive ability, and language ability, which were associated with conduct problems reported by parents, teachers, and adolescents, and change in observed negative emotionality (i.e., frustration tolerance), which was associated with conduct problems reported by teachers and adolescents. Furthermore, associations between the most robust early predictors and later conduct problems were influenced by the shared environment rather than genes. We conclude that shared environmental influences that promote disregard for others and detract from cognitive and language development during toddlerhood also predispose individuals to conduct problems in later childhood and adolescence. The identification of those shared environmental influences common to early antisocial propensity and later conduct problems is an important future direction, and additional developmental behavior genetic studies examining the interaction between children’s characteristics and socializing influences on conduct problems are needed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Temperament and externalizing behavior as mediators of genetic risk on adolescent substance use.Open in a New Window

Understanding how specific genes contribute to risk for addiction remains challenging. This study tests whether childhood temperament and externalizing behavior in early adolescence account for a portion of the association between specific genetic variants and substance use problems in late adolescence. The sample consisted of 487 adolescents from the Michigan Longitudinal Study, a high-risk sample (70.2% male, 81.7% European American ancestry). Polymorphisms across serotonergic (SLC6A4, 5-HTTLPR), dopaminergic (DRD4, u-VNTR), noradrenergic (SLC6A2, rs36021), and GABAergic (GABRA2, rs279858; GABRA6, rs3811995) genes were examined given prior support for associations with temperament, externalizing behavior, and substance use problems. The temperament traits behavioral control and resiliency were assessed using interviewer ratings (ages 9–11), and externalizing behavior (ages 12–14) was assessed using teacher ratings. Self-reported substance use outcomes (ages 15–17) included maximum alcoholic beverages consumed in 24 hours, and frequency of past year cigarette and marijuana use. Behavioral control, resiliency, and externalizing behavior accounted for the associations between polymorphisms in noradrenergic and GABAergic genes and substance use in late adolescence. Individual differences in emotional coping and behavioral regulation represent nonspecific neurobiological underpinnings for an externalizing pathway to addiction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Distinct patterns of dysfunctional appetitive and aversive motivation in bipolar disorder versus schizophrenia: An event-related potential study.Open in a New Window

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are associated with different clinical profiles of disturbances in motivation, yet few studies have compared the neurophysiological correlates of such disturbances. Outpatients with schizophrenia (n = 34), or bipolar disorder I (n = 33), and healthy controls (n = 31) completed a task in which the late positive potential (LPP), an index of motivated attention, was assessed along motivational gradients determined by apparent distance from potential rewards or punishments. Sequences of cues signaling possible monetary gains or losses appeared to loom progressively closer to the viewer; a reaction time (RT) task after the final cue determined the outcome. Controls showed the expected pattern with LPPs for appetitive and aversive cues that were initially elevated, smaller during intermediate positions, and escalated just prior to the RT task. The clinical groups showed different patterns in the final positions just prior to the RT task: the bipolar group’s LPPs to both types of cues peaked relatively early during looming sequences and subsequently decreased, whereas the schizophrenia group showed relatively small LPP escalations, particularly for aversive cues. These distinct patterns suggest that the temporal unfolding of attentional resource allocation for motivationally significant events may qualitatively differ between these disorders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

The role of interpersonal conflict and perceived social support in nonsuicidal self-injury in daily life.Open in a New Window

Although accumulating microlongitudinal research has examined emotion regulatory models of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), few studies have examined how interpersonal contingencies influence daily NSSI behavior. Participants with repeated NSSI (N = 60) provided daily ratings of perceived social support, interpersonal conflict, and NSSI urges and behaviors for 14 days. Consistent with interpersonal models of NSSI, we hypothesized that participants would be more likely to engage in NSSI on days when they experienced high levels of interpersonal conflict, that NSSI acts that were revealed to others would be followed by desirable interpersonal changes (i.e., greater support, less conflict), and that these interpersonal changes would, in turn, predict stronger NSSI urges and more frequent NSSI behavior. Consistent with hypotheses, daily conflict was associated with stronger same-day NSSI urges and greater likelihood of NSSI acts. Perceived support increased following NSSI acts that had been revealed to others, but not unrevealed NSSI acts. This perceived support was, in turn, associated with a stronger NSSI urges and greater likelihood of engaging in NSSI on the following day. Moreover, participants whose NSSI was revealed to others engaged in more total NSSI acts during the diary period than those whose NSSI was not revealed to others. Inconsistent with hypotheses, interpersonal conflict did not decrease following NSSI, regardless of whether or not these acts were revealed to others. Together, these results provide preliminary support for interpersonal reinforcement models of NSSI and highlight the importance of expanding research in this area to include interpersonal contingencies that may influence this behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

 

The network structure of psychopathology in a community sample of preadolescents.Open in a New Window

Psychopathology is often classified according to diagnostic categories or scale scores. These ignore potentially important information about associations between specific symptoms and, consequently, lead to heterogeneous constructs that may mask relevant individual differences. Network analyses focus on these specific symptom associations, providing the opportunity to explore the complex structure of psychopathology in more detail. We examined the empirical network structure of 95 emotional and behavioral problems of the Youth Self-Report (YSR) to explore how well this structure reflected the predefined YSR domains. The study was conducted in a large community sample (N = 2,175) of preadolescents (mean age = 11.1, SD = 0.6 years), and the network structure was determined by means of the recently developed network analysis technique, eLasso. Although problems within the same domain, in general, showed more and stronger connections than problems belonging to different domains, some problems showed substantially more or stronger associations than others; consequently, problems cannot be considered interchangeable indicators of their domain. Furthermore, no sharp boundaries were found between the domains as specific symptom pairs of different domains showed strong connections. Taken together, our findings indicate that network models provide a promising addition to the more traditional way of distinguishing diagnoses or scale scores. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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