The Development of Mood Repair Response Repertories: I. Age-Related Changes Among 7- to 14-Year-Old Depressed and Control Children and Adolescents

Maria Kovacs, Nestor L. Lopez-Duran, Charles George, László Mayer, ldiko Baji, Enikö Kiss, Ágnes Vetró, Krisztina Kapornai

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The purpose of this study was to test developmentally informed hypotheses about regulatory responses to sadness that attenuate versus exacerbate it (adaptive versus maladaptive mood repair responses, respectively) across late childhood, early adolescence, and mid-adolescence. In a multi-site study in Hungary, clinic-based, 7- to 14-year-olds with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ (4th ed., text rev.) depressive disorders (N = 697; 55% male) and age/sex matched (at 1:2) nondepressed, school-based controls (N = 1,394) reported on their usual responses to sadness/dysphoria; parental reports were obtained separately. Adaptive and maladaptive response repertoire scores were compared across ages within and across subject groups, and by informant, controlling for confounds. Contrary to Hypothesis 1, older (vs. younger) youths in both groups reported fewer adaptive regulatory responses. Maladaptive response repertoires were unrelated to age among controls but significantly increased with age among depressed youths, particularly the girls. Partially supporting Hypothesis 2, subject groups differed in age-related trajectories of mood repair repertories, but not as expected (e.g., younger depressed children reported larger adaptive response repertoires than did controls). Parental reports revealed no developmental changes in offspring’s mood repair repertories. Parent-offspring reports were most discordant for younger (vs. older) offspring, tended to converge around age 11, and were consistently and significantly larger in the depressed sample. Self-reported adaptive mood repair repertories appear to have been laid down by late childhood and then undergo “trimming” across ages 7–14 years. The extensive maladaptive mood repair response repertoires of depressed youths, which increased with age, distinguish them primarily from controls. Therefore, reducing maladaptive regulatory responses to sadness should be a priority when treating depressed youths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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