Information-processing biases in young adults from bereaved and divorced families

Linda Luecken, Bradley Appelhans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Parental loss or divorce is associated with increased risk for affective disorders, potentially because of dysfunctional information processing. This study evaluated attentional biases to threat or loss-related cues in young adults from divorced, parental-loss, or intact families. Participants from intact families showed avoidance of supraliminal threat and loss cues, whereas those from divorced families showed vigilance toward loss cues. Those from bereaved families showed no pattern of bias. Abuse and poor family relationships were associated independently with vigilance toward negative cues. After controlling for abuse, group differences in threat bias were no longer apparent. Results suggest that parental death or divorce may increase risk of affective disorder owing to the loss of a "protective bias" away from negative stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-313
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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