Emotional Pathways' Imaging Study in Clinical Adolescents (EPISCA)

Depression and anxiety disorders (also known as internalizing disorders) often develop during adolescence and persist into adulthood. The comorbidity between depression and anxiety disorders is high and predicts negative outcome. Adolescents with depressive or anxiety disorders are known to show disturbed emotion perception and regulation. Very little is known about the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of emotion processing, regulation and longitudinal changes in neurobiological mechanisms. The main research questions of this thesis are:
1. are there differences in the neurobiological mechanisms of emotion processing between adolescents with internalizing disorders and healthy adolescents?,
2. do these differences relate to psychological and symptomatological measurements?,
3. do these neurobiological mechanisms change over time? and
4. Are they related to treatment success and/or changes in symptomatology?

To answer these research questions we collected task- and resting state fMRI data from adolescents with an internalizing disorder and healthy adolescents. All participants were scanned at three measurements: before the start of treatment, three months after the first measurement and six months after the first measurement. In between measurements, the adolescents with internalizing disorders received treatment as usual. The healthy adolescents were scanned within the same period but they did not receive any treatment. Beside the fMRI data we also collected longitudinal information about clinical diagnosis, number and type of treatment sessions, self-reported levels of symptomatology and IQ. At the first measurement we included 30 adolescents with an internalizing disorder and 31 healthy adolescents.

Bianca G. van den Bulk