Emerging depression is associated with face memory deficits in adolescent girls

Amanda E. Guyer, Victoria R. Choate, Kevin J. Grimm, Daniel S. Pine, Kate Keenan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective To examine the association between memory for previously encoded emotional faces and depression symptoms assessed over 4 years in adolescent girls. Investigating the interface between memory deficits and depression in adolescent girls may provide clues about depression pathophysiology. Method Participants were 213 girls recruited from a longitudinal, community-based study; the majority were African American. Scores on depressive screening measures at age 8 were used to increase the base rate of depression. Depression symptoms and diagnoses were assessed annually for 4 years. In year 4, when the girls were 12 to 13 years old, a face emotion encoding task was administered during which ratings were generated in response to sad, fearful, angry, and happy faces. A surprise memory task followed whereby participants identified which of two faces, displaying neutral expressions, they had seen previously. Results Girls with higher depression symptom levels from ages 9 to 12 years evidenced lower accuracy in identifying previously encoded emotional faces. Controlling for IQ, higher depression symptom level was associated with a memory deficit specific to previously encoded sad and happy faces. These effects were not moderated by race. Conclusions Individual differences in face memory deficits relate to individual differences in emerging, early adolescent depression, and may be vulnerability markers for depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-190
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescence
  • depression
  • face emotion
  • memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Emerging depression is associated with face memory deficits in adolescent girls'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this