Teen Brains With Depression Show Heightened Sensitivity to Parental Criticism

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by News Medical.

In a recent article published in Psychological Medicine, researchers examine affective and neural responses to parental feedback in adolescents with depression.

The Relations and Emotions in Parent-Adolescent Interaction Research (RE-PAIR) study investigated the interplay between parent-adolescent interactions by comparing adolescents between 11 and 17 years of age with dysthymia (DEP) or major depressive disorder (MDD) to healthy controls.

During the lab session, adolescents and their parents rated 49 feedback words from very negative to neutral to very positive. These words were also rated on their applicability to the adolescent’s personality, in which a score of one indicated ‘not at all applicable’ to a score of five or ‘very much applicable.’

A total of 63 healthy and 22 depressed adolescents participated in the current study. Depressed adolescents receiving parental criticism exhibited increased activity in the temporal pole, which is involved in extracting social knowledge.

Increased activity was also observed in the hippocampus, fusiform gyrus, and parahippocampal gyrus, all of which are brain regions critical for encoding episodic memory. Comparatively, receiving parental praise was associated with decreased activity in the right visual cortex in adolescents with depression as compared to healthy controls.

Depressed adolescents also recalled more negative than positive feedback words, thus suggesting that parental criticism more strongly affected these individuals than healthy controls. This is consistent with previous observations, thus suggesting negative memory and attention biases in adolescents with depression.

Regardless of depression status, parental praise enhanced adolescents’ mood to a greater extent when it was consistent with the child’s self-views.

Source: News Medical

Help us reach the next generation of families

Back to Top

[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

  • Support Our Mission

    HomeWord is non-profit, donor supported ministry. If you would like to partner with HomeWord in our effort to help more parents and families you can make a donation. Your investment will allow us to expand this ministry by offering more resources to families and churches in need.

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)