The Role of Emotion Processing In the Intergenerational Transmission of Depression Between Mothers and Their Daughters



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The current study examined the role of emotion processing (i.e., ratings of emotional valence and intensity in response to emotional stimuli) in the intergenerational transmission of depressive disorders between mothers and their daughters (between ages 10-16 years). A high-risk design was used with three groups of mother-daughter dyads: (1) 17 depressed biological daughters of mothers with a history of depression (depressed group), (2) 68 non-depressed biological daughters of mothers with a history of depression (high-risk group), and (3) 52 non-depressed biological daughters of mothers with no history of depression (control group). Repeated measures analyses of variance were conducted to compare diagnostic groups and mothers and daughters within dyads on reported emotional valence and intensity for pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral affective pictures. Results indicated that depressed daughters reported the highest level of depression symptoms, followed by high-risk daughters, and then control daughters. With regard to emotion processing, the depressed group perceived higher intensity of pleasant pictures as compared to the control group. Also, similarities across generations (mothers and daughters within dyads) within each diagnostic group were found for perceived valence of pleasant pictures, and valence and intensity of neutral pictures. Implications will be discussed.



Depression, Intergenerational transmission, Emotion processing, High-risk, Affective pictures