Vulnerability and emotional processing in depression: neural and clinical perspectives

Nynke Groenewold

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    Depression is a complex syndrome, with a broad variety of expressions. Nynke Groenewold in her PhD thesis brings forward that risk factors for depression can influence the expression of the condition, and that segregating different risk factors can facilitate a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms.

    First, it became apparent that in depressed individuals the specific brain areas that are involved in emotional processing and reactions respond more strongly to negative information and less so to positive information. Subsequent studies showed that individuals with the highest vulnerability for depression in concert showed the most pronounced brain alterations. Stronger brain activation for negative information was most prominently linked to a negative style of thinking (psychological risk factor), and was also present in individuals with a vulnerability for depression, yet that were not depressed. In addition, risk factors predicted the symptom profile of depression, as individuals with a negative style of thinking showed more severe emotional symptoms over a prolonged period of time.

    The findings demonstrate that different vulnerability factors are associated with the way depression manifests. It is a challenge for the future to indentify the most vulnerable individuals as early as possible to have the best chances of full recovery. Characterization of negative styles of thinking and brain activation patterns can possibly aid in achieving this goal.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • de Jonge, Peter, Supervisor
    • Aleman, Andre, Supervisor
    • Roest, Annelieke, Co-supervisor
    Award date11-Nov-2015
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-8300-2
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8299-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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