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Title page for ETD etd-04142015-200208


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Samanez Larkin, Silvia Patricia
URN etd-04142015-200208
Title Concurrent and Short-term Prospective Relations of Attention and Inhibition to Emotion Regulation and Depressive Symptoms in Children
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Judy Garber Committee Chair
Bruce Compas Committee Member
David Cole Committee Member
Kirsten Haman Committee Member
Keywords
  • development
  • executive function
  • emotion regulation
  • depression
Date of Defense 2015-03-25
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Identifying cognitive and emotional risk factors that contribute to the onset, maintenance, and recurrence of depression is crucial for developing interventions for treatment and prevention.

Poor executive function skills may be vulnerabilities for the development of depression through their effect on emotion regulation. The purpose of this study was to explore specific executive function skills that may be related to adaptive emotion regulation abilities, with the ultimate goal of identifying psychological mechanisms that confer risk for the development of depression. Children, ages 8 to 17, completed behavioral and self-report measures of executive function assessing attentional control and inhibitory control, and self-report measures of emotion regulation and depressive symptoms. Results showed that better self-reported attentional control was associated with lower depressive symptoms and better emotion regulation. Better behavioral and self-reported inhibitory control were associated with lower depressive symptoms and with better emotion regulation. Additionally, better emotion regulation was associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms controlling for behavioral and self-reported measures of executive function. No evidence was found for statistical mediation by emotion regulation of the relation between executive function and depressive symptoms, however. The study demonstrated significant relations among executive function, emotion regulation, and depressive symptoms. Future studies are needed to clarify the direction of these associations, so that interventions can be developed that target specific executive functions and emotion regulation skills for the purpose of reducing the likelihood of depression.

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