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16-07-2020 | Uitgave 10/2020

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 10/2020

Sustained Attention and Individual Differences in Adolescents’ Mood and Physiological Reactivity to Stress

Tijdschrift:
Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 10/2020
Auteurs:
Cope Feurer, Kiera M. James, Claire E. Foster, Brandon E. Gibb
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10802-020-00679-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

Biased attention to sad faces is associated with depression in adults and is hypothesized to increase depression risk specifically in the presence, but not absence, of stress by modulating stress reactivity. However, few studies have tested this hypothesis, and no studies have examined the relation between attentional biases and stress reactivity during adolescence, despite evidence that this developmental window is marked by changes in depression risk, stress, and the function of attention. Seeking to address these limitations, the current study examined the impact of adolescents’ sustained attention to facial displays of emotion on individual differences in both mood reactivity to real-world stress and physiological (i.e., respiratory sinus arrhythmia [RSA]) reactivity to a laboratory-based stressor. Consistent with vulnerability-stress models of attention, greater sustained attention to sad faces was associated with greater depressive reactions to real-world stress. In addition, there was preliminary evidence from exploratory analyses that the impact of sustained attention on mood and/or physiological reactivity may be moderated by adolescents’ age and sex such that relations are stronger for older adolescents and girls. The results of this study contribute to the current body of research on the role of attention in stress reactivity and depression risk and highlight the importance of considering age differences when examining these relations.

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