Young girls lacking appropriate reward and loss recognition at risk?

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A small study published in the April issue of Archives of General Psychiatry found that girls whose mothers are depressed seem to have difficulty possessing reward and loss. According to the study, these children have reduced functioning in the areas of the brain that are associated with the responses. According to Ian H. Gotlib, PhD, of Stanford University, “Our finding that these young ‘high-risk’ girls who have not yet been depressed nevertheless seem to be neurally unresponsive to reward suggests that focusing on their ability to derive pleasure or reward from daily activities will be an important part of a program designed to prevent them from becoming depressed.” While a reduction in reward and loss recognition has been associated with depression, it is still unclear if depression causes response reduction or if a lessened sense of reward and loss is a precursor to it. Click here to read an article from US News and World Report that discusses this study more.

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