Family Relationships

Parental expressed emotion and suicidal ideation in adolescents with bipolar disorder

-Alissa J. Ellis, Larissa C. Portnoff, David A. Axelson, Robert A. Kowatch, Patricia Walshaw, and David J. Miklowitz

Family environmental variables are risk factors for recurrent courses of mood disorder in adolescents. The present study examined the association between parental expressed emotion (EE)—critical, hostile and/or emotionally overinvolved attitudes toward a concurrently ill offspring—and suicidal ideation in adolescents with bipolar disorder. The sample consisted of 95 adolescents with a bipolar I or II diagnosis who had experienced a mood episode in the prior 3 months. Participants (mean age¼15.54 years, S.D.¼1.4) were interviewed and completed questionnaires regarding current and past suicidal ideation prior to their participation in a treatment trial. Parents completed five-minute speech samples from which levels of EE were assessed. High EE attitudes in parents were associated with current suicidal ideation in adolescents. This relationship was independent of the effects of age, gender, current depressive or manic symptoms, comorbid diagnoses, bipolar I/II subtypes, family adaptability, and family cohesion. These results underscore the importance of addressing the emotional reactivity of caregivers in treating adolescents with bipolar disorder who have suicidal ideation.

A review of associations between parental emotion socialization behaviors and the neural substrates of emotional reactivity and regulation in youth

-Patricia Z Tan, Caroline W Oppenheimer, Cecile D Ladouceur, Rosalind D Butterfield, Jennifer S Silk

As highlighted by Eisenberg, Cumberland, and Spinrad (1998), parents play a critical role in children’s socioemotional development, in part, by shaping how children and adolescents process, respond to, and regulate their emotions (i.e., emotional reactivity/regulation). Although evidence for associations between parenting behavior and youth’s emotional processing has relied primarily on behavioral measures of emotion, researchers have begun to examine how parenting is related to the neural substrates of youth’s reactivity and regulation. This article reviews a growing literature linking parental behavior with structural brain development as well as functional activity and connectivity in neural regions supporting emotional reactivity/regulation during infancy, childhood, and adolescence. By focusing on normative parental behaviors, we evaluate the evidence for associations between typical variations in caregiving and neural processes thought to support youth’s emotional reactivity/regulation. The purpose of this review is to (1) extend the model put forth by Eisenberg and colleagues to consider the ways that parenting behaviors are related to neural substrates of youth’s emotional reactivity and regulation; (2) review the empirical evidence for associations between parenting, particularly parental “emotion-related socialization behaviors” (ERSBs), and neural substrates of youth’s emotional reactivity/regulation; and (3) recommend future directions for this emerging area of research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

Associations between maternal negative affect and adolescent’s neural response to peer evaluation

-Patricia Z Tan, Kyung Hwa Lee, Ronald E Dahl, Eric E Nelson, Laura J Stroud, Greg J Siegle, Judith K Morgan, Jennifer S Silk

Parenting is often implicated as a potential source of individual differences in youths’ emotional information processing. The present study examined whether parental affect is related to an important aspect of adolescent emotional development, response to peer evaluation. Specifically, we examined relations between maternal negative affect, observed during parent-adolescent discussion of an adolescent-nominated concern with which s/he wants parental support, and adolescent neural responses to peer evaluation in 40 emotionally healthy and depressed adolescents. We focused on a network of ventral brain regions involved in affective processing of social information: the amygdala, anterior insula, nucleus accumbens, and subgenual anterior cingulate, as well as the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Maternal negative affect was not associated with adolescent neural response to peer rejection. However, longer durations of maternal negative affect were associated with decreased responsivity to peer acceptance in the amygdala, left anterior insula, subgenual anterior cingulate, and left nucleus accumbens. These findings provide some of the first evidence that maternal negative affect is associated with adolescents’ neural processing of social rewards. Findings also suggest that maternal negative affect could contribute to alterations in affective processing, specifically, dampening the saliency and/or reward of peer interactions during adolescence.