New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Maternal Depression, Child Temperament, and Early-Life Stress Predict Never-Depressed Preadolescents’ Functional Connectivity During a Negative-Mood Induction
Pan Liu et al.

Early depression risk appears to be associated with altered brain functional connectivity during negative-emotion processing, related to maternal depression and children’s maladaptive patterns of temperament (e.g., high negative emotionality, especially sadness). Liu and colleagues assessed children’s depression and temperament patterns at the age of 3 years and their early-life stress at ages 3, 4, and 5. When the children were around age 11, the researchers measured their brain activity during a negative-mood induction task (watching a sad clip from a film) using MRI; they also measured children’s maternal depression history, children’s sadness and low positive emotionality, and early stress-predicted specific patterns of brain activity. These findings suggest an association between functional connectivity and early depression risks.

A Prospective Study of Mental Health, Well-Being, and Substance Use During the Initial COVID-19 Pandemic Surge
Katherine C. Haydon and Jessica E. Salvatore

Haydon and Salvatore examined a U.S. community sample before COVID-19 and during the initial surge of the pandemic. They tested whether pandemic-related events (e.g., difficulty connecting with friends) and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were associated with mental health, well-being, relationship satisfaction, and substance use. Results indicated that ACEs were associated with more negative pandemic-related events, which, in turn, were associated with increased depressive symptoms, stress, anxiety, and peritraumatic distress (i.e., negative emotions around the traumatic event) and lower relationship satisfaction, relative to pre-pandemic levels. Thus, childhood trauma might explain different individual vulnerabilities to COVID-19 disruptions.

A Critical Review of Case Studies on Dissociative Amnesia
Ivan Mangiulli, Henry Otgaar, Marko Jelicic, and Harald Merckelbach

Mangiulli and colleagues review 128 case studies of dissociative amnesia, a phenomenon characterized by the inability to remember important autobiographical experiences. The case studies were published in 60 peer-reviewed journals between 2000 and 2020. The researchers used the diagnostic criteria for dissociative amnesia indicated in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to examine to what extent the cases met core features of dissociative amnesia. They found the evidence in support of a dissociative-amnesia diagnosis to often be weak and could not exclude other diagnoses. Mangiulli and colleagues suggest that clinicians and researchers investigate dissociative amnesia more critically.

Emotion and Emotion Preferences in Daily Life: The Role of Anxiety
W. Michael Vanderlind, Jonas Everaert, Camila Caballero, Emily M. Cohodes, and Dylan G. Gee

Emotion preferences—the emotional states people want to experience and seek out—may contribute to emotion dysfunction in anxiety, this research suggests. Four times per day for 14 days, Vanderlind and colleagues measured participants’ trait anxiety and the severity of their anxiety symptom, and they tracked participants’ daily emotion preferences and state emotion. Compared with participants who had lower anxiety, participants with higher trait anxiety and symptom severity reported greater preference for state anxiety (i.e., feeling anxious, scared, or nervous). These findings suggest that emotion preferences may be a treatment target for interventions aimed at improving the emotion functioning of individuals with high anxiety.

A Dual-Mode Social-Information-Processing Model to Explain Individual Differences in Children’s Aggressive Behavior
Rogier E. J. Verhoef, Anouk van Dijk, and Bram O. de Castro

Children’s differences in social-information-processing (SIP) patterns may inform and predict the degree to which they exhibit aggressive behavior. Verhoef and colleagues propose a dual-mode SIP model that predicts which processing steps children will take, when they will take them, and how these processing steps may lead to aggression. According to the model, children’s SIP patterns can follow an automatic, fast, and impulsive mode of processing or a reflective, deliberated, and controlled mode. Which mode is used depends on children’s arousal, which depends on the children’s and the situation’s characteristics. The model may help to shape interventions to address children’s aggressive behavior.

Mental Health and Social Contact During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Ecological Momentary Assessment Study
Eiko I. Fried, Faidra Papanikolaou, and Sacha Epskamp

Four times per day for 14 days during the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in The Netherlands, Fried and colleagues assessed Dutch students’ mental health and social contact, as well as COVID-19 related variables (e.g., friends’ diagnoses). Despite rising infection and death rates, students’ anxiety, loneliness, and COVID-19-related concerns decreased, especially in the first days of the study. Stress levels remained stable, but depressive symptoms increased. The researchers suggest that the students’ reduced anxiety, loneliness, and concerns might be explained by a quick recovery toward baseline levels after a brief elevation that likely occurred before the study.

Digital Technologies for Emotion-Regulation Assessment and Intervention: A Conceptual Review
Alexandra H. Bettis, Taylor A. Burke, Jacqueline Nesi, and Richard T. Liu

Bettis and colleagues examine the use of digital technologies to assess emotion regulation and create interventions. They review technologies such as ecological momentary assessment, wearables and smartphones, smart-home technology, virtual reality, and social media. The use of these technologies allows researchers to study the dynamic nature of emotion regulation and its dependence on context and a person’s internal state, which the traditional methods of static self-report measurement do not allow. This capability has already led to changing the definition of emotion regulation to reflect the importance of flexibility across contexts. Bettis and colleagues discuss challenges, ethical considerations, and future research.

Does Training Parents in Reinforcement Skills or Relationship Skills Enhance Individual Youths’ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety? Outcome, Specificity, and Mediation
Wendy K. Silverman, Yasmin Rey, Carla E. Marin, James Jaccard, and Jeremy W. Pettit

Silverman and colleagues tested different approaches to treat youths (7–16 years old) diagnosed with primary anxiety. The researchers compared the effects of individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) targeting only the youths as well as CBT targeting parents’ reinforcement skills and, separately, parents’ relationship skills. After treatment, youths in CBT that targeted parents’ skills had lower anxiety than youths in CBT only. Also, CBT targeting parents’ reinforcement skills appeared to reduce negative reinforcement. Both this reduction and accompanying lower parental psychological control appeared to mediate youths’ anxiety reduction. At a 12-month follow-up, compared with CBT only, CBT targeting parents’ relationship skills appeared to result in lower anxiety.

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