New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Blunted Reward Processing in Remitted Melancholic Depression

Anna Weinberg and Stewart A. Shankman

Few reliable markers for vulnerability to major depressive disorder (MDD) have been identified, despite its prevalence. This may be due to the variety of subgroups and symptom clusters subsumed under the MDD diagnosis. The researchers examined vulnerability markers for a specific subtype of depression — melancholic depression — by having participants with remitted melancholic depression, participants with remitted nonmelancholic depression, and healthy controls perform a simple guessing task in which they could win or lose money. Electroencephalogram data were recorded as participants performed the task. Whereas participants with remitted melancholic depression showed blunted neural responses to reward, those with remitted nonmelancholic depression and healthy controls did not, suggesting that blunted reward response is a marker for vulnerability to this specific subtype of depression.

Spiraling Out of Control: Stress Generation and Subsequent Rumination Mediate the Link Between Poorer Cognitive Control and Internalizing Psychopathology

Hannah R. Snyder and Benjamin L. Hankin

Poor cognitive control is associated with a host of different mental disorders, but the mechanisms contributing to this relationship are still unclear. The researchers tested a new process model suggesting that poor cognitive control may lead to the generation of stress, triggering rumination and, in turn, psychopathology. The researchers conducted a 3-year longitudinal study and a cross-sectional study examining how effortful control and executive functioning were related to stress, rumination, anxiety, and depression. In both studies, the researchers found that poorer cognitive control predicted stress, which in turn predicted rumination. Rumination in turn predicted anxiety and depression. These findings provide valuable insight into potential contributors to — and potential intervention targets for — a variety of mental disorders.

A Twin Study Examining Rumination as a Transdiagnostic Correlate of Psychopathology

Daniel P. Johnson, Soo Hyun Rhee, Naomi P. Friedman, Robin P. Corley, Melissa A. Munn-Chernoff, John K. Hewitt, and Mark A. Whisman

Although rumination has been found to be associated with several different forms of psychopathology, no study to date has examined the genetic and environmental influences of rumination on mental disorders other than depression. Monozygotic and dizygotic twins who were part of the Longitudinal Twin Study completed assessments of rumination, self-reflection, depression, eating pathology, generalized anxiety disorder, and substance abuse. Rumination was associated with each of the forms of psychopathology, but in different ways, with rumination being most genetically associated with depression, moderately associated with eating disorders, and least associated with substance abuse. The genetic and environmental influences on rumination overlapped with those that contribute to covariance between the different forms of psychopathology, providing evidence that rumination is a transdiagnostic risk factor for mental illness.

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