Relative left frontal hypoactivation in adolescents at risk for depression
Dichter, Gabriel Sviatoslav
We tested the prediction that resting frontal brain asymmetry would be a marker of vulnerability for depression among adolescents. Baseline electroencephalographic (EEG) activity was recorded from 12-14 year-old adolescent children whose mothers had a history of depression (high-risk group) and whose mothers were lifetime-free of Axis I psychopathology (low-risk group). Across all three reference montages derived, high-risk adolescents demonstrated the hypothesized pattern of relative left frontal hypoactivation on alpha band measures. Unexpectedly, we found that socioeconomic status (SES) also predicted alpha asymmetry. When the effects of SES and risk status were jointly assessed, only SES contributed unique variance to the prediction of frontal brain asymmetry. Significant effects were also observed in other bands but all effects were confined to the mid-frontal region. The implications of the observed relations among maternal depression, SES, and frontal brain asymmetry are discussed.