Attention bias for negative semantic stimuli in late life depression and clinical research portfolio

McIlwraith, Sarah (2009) Attention bias for negative semantic stimuli in late life depression and clinical research portfolio. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Background: Recent studies indicate that depressed individuals may have difficulties disengaging visual-spatial attention from negative information. Preliminary studies in depressed older adults provide evidence for the existence of biased attention to negative stimuli. However, the specific components of attention driving the detected bias effects in this population are not known. Aims: This study examined the mechanisms underlying attention biases in Late Life Depression (LLD). It was predicted that depressed older adults, like their younger counterparts, would demonstrate an impaired ability to disengage attention from negative stimuli relative to neutral and positive stimuli, as compared to non-depressed older adult controls. Methods: 16 clinically depressed older adults and 22 older adult controls matched for age, gender and pre-morbid verbal IQ performed an emotional spatial cueing task that required classifying a target stimulus. The location of the target was correctly or incorrectly cued by a neutral, positive or negative word. Results: Planned comparisons did not support the primary hypotheses. However, participants in the depressed group, in general, were slower to respond than participants in the control group. Conclusions: Results suggest that the ability to disengage attention from negative words is not impaired in LLD; however methodological limitations prevent firm conclusions being drawn. Possible explanations for the results are discussed along with directions for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Attention Bias, Late Life Depression, Disengagement
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: McMillan, Professor Tom
Date of Award: 2009
Depositing User: Miss Sarah McIlwraith
Unique ID: glathesis:2009-1251
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:36

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