Daughters of mothers with a history of depression are at extremely high risk for developing depression themselves and thus, there is a need to identify specific mechanisms of risk in order to develop targeted, prevention efforts. The MADS study combines behavioral, neural (EEG and fMRI), and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) measures with a prospective design to test whether disrupted social-emotional and motivational processing styles are direct, familial mechanisms implicated in the intergenerational transmission of depression. We believe this work will ultimately contribute to a better understanding of brain and behavioral measures underlying youth depression risk and promote the development of targeted, prevention efforts for this population.
The PODS study leverages a well-developed evidence-based family group cognitive-behavioral prevention program (developed by Bruce Compas – Vanderbilt University) to examine whether biological markers (ERPs) implicated in emotion processing can be altered in children of depressed parents to reduce depression risk. This project is also examining whether ERPs can predict which offspring of depressed parents respond to the intervention program. Findings from the study have the potential to improve clinical outcomes and optimize limited resources for high risk families.