Offspring of depressed parents are at an increased risk for depression. Reward- and punishment-based systems might be mechanisms linking maternal outcomes to offspring depression and anhedonia. The current study was designed to investigate the intergenerational relations between maternal markers of reward and punishment responsiveness and their offspring's depression and anhedonia in a community sample of 40 mother (mean age = 44.5; SD = 6.82) and adolescent (mean age = 14.73; SD = 1.25; 52.5% female) dyads. Maternal markers of reward and punishment responsiveness were captured using self-report, behavioral, and neurophysiological methods, and self-reported depression and anhedonia symptoms were used as outcomes among the adolescent offspring. Maternal self-reported reward responsiveness and punishment learning rates were differentially associated with depression across male and female offspring. Regarding anhedonia, maternal punishment learning rate was positively related to adolescent anhedonia regardless of offspring biological sex. Maternal reward learning rate was also positively associated with anhedonia among male offspring. In general, low concurrence across self-report, behavioral, and neurophysiological markers of reward and punishment responsiveness was found. The results from the current study suggest that learning-rates on reinforcement-based behavioral tasks may be important objective markers to consider when evaluating intergenerational risk.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry