Positive and Negative Affect in Children of Depressed vs. Nondepressed Mothers
Children of depressed mothers are at a higher risk of developing depression in their lifetime compared to children of nondepressed mothers. Based on the tripartite model of depression and anxiety, low positive affect is the core symptom of depression. The current study examined the affect pattern of children of depressed and nondepressed mothers in general and in response to stimuli. Participants were 92 children (ages 8 to 10, mean=9.39, SD=.83; 55.4% female) and their mothers. Thirty-seven children were offspring of mothers with a history of depression during the child’s lifetime (high risk), and 55 were offspring of mothers without a depression history (low risk). The Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule was used to measure trait and state positive and negative affect; the Smiley Face Mood Rating was used to measure children’s affect after exposure to audio and visual stimuli that were neutral, negative, and positive. Results indicated that maternal depression history predicts low positive affect trait, and high positive parenting predicts high positive affect. Sex difference was found in the reactivity to mood induction stimuli, in a way that girls respond more positive to positive stimulus and more negative to negative stimulus than boys.