Frontal EEG asymmetry moderates the effects of stressful life events on internalizing symptoms in children at familial risk for depression

Nestor L. Lopez-Duran*, Robin Nusslock, Charles George, Maria Kovacs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined whether frontal alpha electroencephalographic (EEG) asymmetry moderates the association between stressful life events and depressive symptoms in children at familial risk for depression. Participants included 135 children ages 6 to 13, whose mothers had either a history of depression or no history of major psychiatric conditions. Frontal EEG was recorded while participants watched emotion-eliciting films. Symptoms and stressful life events were obtained via the Child Behavior Check List and a clinical interview, respectively. High-risk children displayed greater relative right lateral frontal activation (F7/F8) than their low-risk peers during the films. For high-risk children, greater relative left lateral frontal activation moderated the association between stressful life events and internalizing symptoms. Specifically, greater relative left lateral frontal activation mitigated the effects of stress in at-risk children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-521
Number of pages12
JournalPsychophysiology
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

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Keywords

  • Brain asymmetry
  • Child depression
  • EEG
  • Life stressors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry

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