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Recall bias during adolescence: Gender differences and associations with depressive symptoms

Bone, JK; Lewis, G; Roiser, JP; Blakemore, S-J; Lewis, G; (2021) Recall bias during adolescence: Gender differences and associations with depressive symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders , 282 pp. 299-307. 10.1016/j.jad.2020.12.133. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: There is a sharp increase in depression in females in mid-adolescence, but we do not understand why. Cognitive theories suggest that people with depression have negative biases in recalling self-referential information. We tested whether recall biases were more negative in girls in early and mid-adolescence and were associated with depressive symptoms. Methods: 315 young and 263 mid-adolescents (11-12 and 13-15 years) completed a surprise test, assessing recall of social evaluation about the self (self-referential) or another person (other-referential). The short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire measured depressive symptoms. We tested the effects of condition (self-referential/otherreferential), valence (positive/negative), gender, and age group on correct recall (hits) and associations with depressive symptoms. Results: There was no evidence for gender or age differences in positive or negative self-referential recall. Selfreferential positive hits were negatively associated with depressive symptoms (adjusted coefficient=-0.38, 95% CI=-0.69–0.08, p=0.01). Self-referential negative hits were positively associated with depressive symptoms (adjusted coefficient=0.45, 95% CI=0.15-0.75, p=0.003), and this association was stronger in females (adjusted interaction p=0.04). Limitations: The reliability and validity of the recall task are unknown. We cannot provide evidence of a causal effect of recall on depressive symptoms in this cross-sectional study. Conclusions: Adolescents who recalled more self-referential negative and fewer self-referential positive words had more severe depressive symptoms. Females did not demonstrate more recall biases, but the association between self-referential negative hits and depressive symptoms was stronger in females. Negative self-referential recall may be a risk factor for depressive symptoms and is a good candidate for longitudinal studies.

Type: Article
Title: Recall bias during adolescence: Gender differences and associations with depressive symptoms
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.12.133
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.12.133
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: Adolescence, Cognition, Depression, Gender difference, Memory, Recall bias
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10118950
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