Incremental validity of ERP correlates of self‐referential processing in predicting emerging depressive symptoms in late childhood: Evidence from a community‐dwelling sample.

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    • Abstract:
      Depressogenic self‐referential processing (e.g., self‐schemas reflecting shallower processing of positive, and deeper processing of negative, self‐descriptive words) is an established cognitive vulnerability to depression. Alterations of event‐related potentials (ERPs) during self‐referential processing have been observed in adolescents with depression risk or clinical depression. However, no study has examined ERPs associated with self‐referential processing in typical‐risk youth with emerging depressive symptoms during late childhood, a high‐risk period for depression. It is also unclear to what extent ERPs provide incremental validity in predicting symptoms beyond performance on self‐referential processing tasks. Sixty‐five community‐dwelling children (38 girls; mean age/SD = 11.02/1.59 years) completed a self‐referent encoding task (SRET) with EEG recorded. Children showed a larger P2 and a larger late positive potential (LPP) in response to positive SRET stimuli versus negative stimuli. Hierarchical regression showed that in the positive condition only, including ERP correlates (P1, P2, LPP) and interactions between the ERPs and positive SRET score increased the explained variation in depressive symptoms beyond behavioral SRET performance. The LPP in response to positive words was associated with lower depressive symptoms. The P1 and P2 in response to positive words interacted with positive SRET score, such that the association between positive SRET score and symptoms was significant in children with greater P1 but smaller P2. We provide novel evidence supporting the incremental validity of ERPs beyond behavioral makers in predicting emerging depressive symptoms in children. Our findings also highlight the moderating role of ERP activity in strengthening the association between behavioral markers of self‐schemas and depressive outcomes. This study provides novel evidence on the incremental validity of ERP measures of self‐referential processing in predicting emerging depressive symptoms in late childhood, beyond the behavioral indices of self‐schemas. We also highlight the moderating role of ERP activity in strengthening the linkages between behavioral indices of self‐referential processing and depressive outcomes. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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