Selective attention toward angry faces and risk for major depressive disorder in women: Converging evidence from retrospective and prospective analyses.
The current study examined selective attention toward emotional images as a risk factor for major depressive disorder (MDD). Using multiple indices of attention in a dot-probe task (i.e., reaction time [RT] and eye-tracking-based measures) in a retrospective, high-risk design, we found that women with remitted MDD, compared with controls, exhibited greater selective attention toward angry faces across RT and eye-tracking indices and greater attention toward sad faces for RT measures. Second, we followed women with remitted MDD prospectively to determine if the attentional biases retrospectively associated with MDD history would predict MDD recurrence across a 2-year follow-up. We found that women who spent a greater proportion of time looking at angry faces during the dot-probe task at the baseline assessment had a significantly shorter time to MDD onset. Taken together, these findings provide converging retrospective and prospective evidence that selective attention toward angry faces may increase risk for MDD recurrence.
Woody, M.L., Owens, M., Burkhouse, K.L. & Gibb, B.E. (2016) Selective attention toward angry faces and risk for major depressive disorder in women: Converging evidence from retrospective and prospective analyses. Clinical Psychological Science, 4, 206-215. doi: 10.1177/2167702615581580
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