Intergenerational Transmission of Depression and the Prevention of Psychopathology

Having parents with depressive or anxiety disorders increases the risk of these disorders in children and adolescents. The mechanisms by which this risk is transmitted from parent to child, however, are not well understood. In our lab we are examining a large number of biological, cognitive, and social factors in the young children of mothers who have experienced depression or anxiety. There are two major aims of this project. First, we are identifying specific characteristics of parents and children that help us to understand why many of the children go on to develop a psychiatric disorder. Second, we are using neurofeedback and attention bias training to reduce stress reactivity in a separate sample of children to delay or even prevent the onset of disorder.