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Risk-taking to obtain reward: sex differences and associations with emotional and depressive symptoms in a nationally representative cohort of UK adolescents

Lewis, G; Srinivasan, R; Roiser, J; Blakemore, S-J; Flouri, E; Lewis, G; (2021) Risk-taking to obtain reward: sex differences and associations with emotional and depressive symptoms in a nationally representative cohort of UK adolescents. Psychological Medicine 10.1017/S0033291720005000. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cognitive mechanisms that characterize or precede depressive symptoms are poorly understood. We investigated cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between risk taking to obtain reward and adolescent depressive symptoms in a large prospective cohort, using the Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT). We also explored sex differences. METHODS: The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is an ongoing UK study, following the lives of 19 000 individuals born 2000/02. The CGT was completed at ages 11 (n = 12 355) and 14 (n = 10 578). Our main exposure was the proportion of points gambled, when the odds of winning were above chance (risk-taking to obtain reward). Outcomes were emotional symptoms (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, SDQ) at age 11 and depressive symptoms (short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire, sMFQ) at age 14. We calculated cross-sectional and longitudinal associations, using linear regressions. RESULTS: In univariable models, there was evidence of cross-sectional associations between risk-taking and SDQ/sMFQ scores, but these associations disappeared after we adjusted for sex. Longitudinally, there was weak evidence of an association between risk-taking and depressive symptoms in females only [a 20-point increase in risk-taking at age 11 was associated with a reduction of 0.31 sMFQ points at age 14 (95% CI -0.60 to -0.02)]. At both time-points, females were less risk-taking than males. CONCLUSIONS: We found no convincing evidence of a relationship between risk-taking to obtain reward and depressive symptoms. There were large sex differences in risk-taking, but these do not appear to contribute to the female preponderance of depressive symptoms in adolescence.

Type: Article
Title: Risk-taking to obtain reward: sex differences and associations with emotional and depressive symptoms in a nationally representative cohort of UK adolescents
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0033291720005000
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291720005000
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Depression, adolescent, cambridge gambling task, epidemiology, reward
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119292
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