Positive affectivity is dampened in youths with histories of major depression and their never-depressed adolescent siblings

Maria Kovacs, Lauren M. Bylsma, Ilya Yaroslavsky, Jonathan Rottenberg, Charles J. George, Enikö Kiss, Kitti Halas, István Benák, Ildiko Baji, Ágnes Vetró, Krisztina Kapornai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Although hedonic capacity is diminished during clinical depression, it is unclear whether that deficit constitutes a risk factor or persists after depression episodes remit. To examine these issues, adolescents with current/past major depression (probands; n = 218), never-depressed biological siblings of probands (n = 207), and emotionally well controls (n = 183) were exposed to several positively valenced probes. Across baseline and hedonic probe conditions, controls consistently reported higher levels of positive affect than high-risk siblings, and siblings reported higher levels of positive affect than probands (remitted and depressed probands’ reports were similar). Extent of positive affect across the protocol predicted adolescents’ self-reports of social support network and parental reports of offspring’s use of various adaptive mood repair responses in daily life. Attenuated hedonic responding among youths remitted from depression offers partial support for anhedonia as a trait, whereas its presence among never-depressed high-risk siblings argues for anhedonia as a potential diathesis for clinical depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-674
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016



  • Anhedonia
  • Childhood depression
  • Depression
  • High-risk siblings
  • Positive affect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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