Adolescent girls aged 11-13 who avoid angry faces are more likely to develop depressive symptoms over the next two years than girls who avoid aggressive faces, according to a recent study. Notably, a 24-month follow-up study showed that the former high-avoidance group, who developed depressive symptoms, had the least avoidance of images of angry faces.
A new study was published in Research on psychopathology of children and adolescents.
Depression and anxiety are common, often onset during adolescence, and life-altering conditions. Studies have found that adolescent females develop depressive symptoms at three times the rate of male girlfriends. In addition, symptoms of social anxiety often become apparent by the end of puberty, again putting women at 1.5 times greater risk than men. Understanding and addressing the behaviors that precede depression and social anxiety can be critical to ensuring that developing adolescents transition to prosperous adult life.
For the study, Mary Woody and her colleagues recruited 129 women aged 11 to 13 with participating caregivers. The subjects were obtained through Internet advertisements on Facebook and Instagram, as well as postcards and flyers from local businesses. All child subjects were identified as healthy without a psychiatric diagnosis.
To determine baseline, all subjects completed assessments of temperament, depression (Mood and Emotional Questionnaire), and anxiety (Children’s Anxiety-Related Affective Disorder Screening – Social Anxiety Subscale). . An approach avoidance task (AAT) was then performed.
AAT is a computer-based task in which an adult’s face is displayed on the screen. The face is angry or happy with a direct or averted gaze. Using a joystick, participants were then instructed to push or pull the joystick according to a specific type of face (angry or happy). The direction is reversed for part B. Each set of directions used his 64 faces. Pushing or pulling the joystick increased or decreased the size of the face. Participant reaction time. The speed at which the face is zoomed in or out using the joystick is used to measure avoidance.
Analysis of the results showed that advanced avoidance of angry faces as measured by ATT was not associated with depressive symptoms at baseline, but was significantly associated with symptoms after 24 months. became clear. These results were similar but less robust for social anxiety symptoms.
In response to this finding, Woody and her colleagues said: It can be serious or threatening and increase the risk of developing subthreshold depressive symptoms later. ”
Interestingly, this study also found that those who were the most avoidant during ATT and subsequently developed depressive symptoms were the least avoidant when they resumed taking ATT at the 24-month mark. rice field. Woody and her colleagues hypothesize that as depressive symptoms increase, the ability to use avoidance coping mechanisms declines. The research team acknowledges that more research is needed to investigate this finding.
The study “Avoidance bias to angry faces predicts the development of depressive symptoms in adolescent girls” by Mary L. Woody, Cecile D. Ladouceur, Elisa Borrero, Yuqi S. Wang, and Jennifer S. Silk was written.