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‘Mom—I don’t want to hear it’: Brain response to maternal praise and criticism in adolescents with major depressive disorder

Silk, Jennifer S. and Lee, Kyung Hwa and Elliott, Rosalind D. and Hooley, Jill M. and Dahl, Ronald E. and Barber, Anita and Siegle, Greg J. (2017) ‘Mom—I don’t want to hear it’: Brain response to maternal praise and criticism in adolescents with major depressive disorder. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12 (5). pp. 729-738. ISSN 1749-5016

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Recent research has implicated altered neural response to interpersonal feedback as an important factor in adolescent depression, with existing studies focusing on responses to feedback from virtual peers. We investigated whether depressed adolescents differed from healthy youth in neural response to social evaluative feedback from mothers. During neuroimaging, twenty adolescents in a current episode of major depressive disorder (MDD) and 28 healthy controls listened to previously recorded audio clips of their own mothers’ praise, criticism and neutral comments. Whole-brain voxelwise analyses revealed that MDD youth, unlike controls, exhibited increased neural response to critical relative to neutral clips in the parahippocampal gyrus, an area involved in episodic memory encoding and retrieval. Depressed adolescents also showed a blunted response to maternal praise clips relative to neutral clips in the parahippocampal gyrus, as well as areas involved in reward and self-referential processing (i.e. ventromedial prefrontal cortex, precuneus, and thalamus/caudate). Findings suggest that maternal criticism may be more strongly encoded or more strongly activated during memory retrieval related to previous autobiographical instances of negative feedback from mothers in depressed youth compared to healthy youth. Furthermore, depressed adolescents may fail to process the reward value and self-relevance of maternal praise.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Silk, Jennifer
Lee, Kyung
Elliott, Rosalind D.
Hooley, Jill M.
Dahl, Ronald E.
Barber, Anita
Siegle, Greg
Date: 17 February 2017
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Volume: 12
Number: 5
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Page Range: pp. 729-738
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1093/scan/nsx014
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Refereed: No
ISSN: 1749-5016
Official URL:
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2020 13:07
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2020 13:07


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