Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 114
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Auerbach, Randy P. Stewart, Jeremy G. and Johnson, Sheri L. 2016. Impulsivity and Suicidality in Adolescent Inpatients. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology,

    Blader, Joseph C. Pliszka, Steven R. Kafantaris, Vivian Sauder, Colin Posner, Jonathan Foley, Carmel A. Carlson, Gabrielle A. Crowell, Judith A. and Margulies, David M. 2016. Prevalence and Treatment Outcomes of Persistent Negative Mood Among Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Aggressive Behavior. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Vol. 26, Issue. 2, p. 164.

    Chuang, Jie-Yu J Whitaker, Kirstie Murray, Graham K Elliott, Rebecca Hagan, Cindy C Graham, Julia ME Ooi, Cinly Tait, Roger Holt, Rosemary J van Nieuwenhuizen, Adrienne O Reynolds, Shirley Wilkinson, Paul O Bullmore, Edward T Lennox, Belinda R Sahakian, Barbara J Goodyer, Ian and Suckling, John 2016. Aberrant brain responses to emotionally valent words is normalised after cognitive behavioural therapy in female depressed adolescents. Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 189, p. 54.

    Gollan, Jackie K. Hoxha, Denada Hunnicutt-Ferguson, Kallio Norris, Catherine J. Rosebrock, Laina Sankin, Lindsey and Cacioppo, John 2016. Twice the negativity bias and half the positivity offset: Evaluative responses to emotional information in depression. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, Vol. 52, p. 166.

    Rudolph, Karen D. Lansford, Jennifer E. and Rodkin, Philip C. 2016. Developmental Psychopathology.

    Tseng, Wan-Ling Thomas, Laura A. Harkins, Elizabeth Pine, Daniel S. Leibenluft, Ellen and Brotman, Melissa A. 2016. Neural correlates of masked and unmasked face emotion processing in youth with severe mood dysregulation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Vol. 11, Issue. 1, p. 78.

    Worthman, Carol M. Tomlinson, Mark and Rotheram-Borus, Mary Jane 2016. When can parents most influence their child's development? Expert knowledge and perceived local realities. Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 154, p. 62.

    Wu, Qiong Feng, Xin Hooper, Emma and Ku, Seulki 2016. Maternal Emotion Socialization, Depressive Symptoms and Child Emotion Regulation: Child Emotionality as a Moderator. Infant and Child Development,

    Beauchaine, Theodore P. and Thayer, Julian F. 2015. Heart rate variability as a transdiagnostic biomarker of psychopathology. International Journal of Psychophysiology, Vol. 98, Issue. 2, p. 338.

    Boustani, Maya M. Frazier, Stacy L. Becker, Kimberly D. Bechor, Michele Dinizulu, Sonya M. Hedemann, Erin R. Ogle, Robert R. and Pasalich, Dave S. 2015. Common Elements of Adolescent Prevention Programs: Minimizing Burden While Maximizing Reach. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, Vol. 42, Issue. 2, p. 209.

    Casement, Melynda D. Shaw, Daniel S. Sitnick, Stephanie L. Musselman, Samuel C. and Forbes, Erika E. 2015. Life stress in adolescence predicts early adult reward-related brain function and alcohol dependence. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Vol. 10, Issue. 3, p. 416.

    Davis, Molly Suveg, Cynthia and Shaffer, Anne 2015. Maternal Positive Affect Mediates the Link Between Family Risk and Preschoolers’ Positive Affect. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, Vol. 46, Issue. 1, p. 167.

    Davis, Molly Suveg, Cynthia and Shaffer, Anne 2015. The Value of a Smile: Child Positive Affect Moderates Relations Between Maternal Emotion Dysregulation and Child Adjustment Problems. Journal of Child and Family Studies, Vol. 24, Issue. 8, p. 2441.

    Dennison, Meg Whittle, Sarah Yücel, Murat Byrne, Michelle L. Schwartz, Orli Simmons, Julian G. and Allen, Nicholas B. 2015. Trait positive affect is associated with hippocampal volume and change in caudate volume across adolescence. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol. 15, Issue. 1, p. 80.

    Fussner, Lauren M. Luebbe, Aaron M. and Bell, Debora J. 2015. Dynamics of Positive Emotion Regulation: Associations with Youth Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Vol. 43, Issue. 3, p. 475.

    Garrido, Sandra and Schubert, Emery 2015. Music and People with Tendencies to Depression. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 32, Issue. 4, p. 313.

    Hasler, Brant P. Soehner, Adriane M. and Clark, Duncan B. 2015. Sleep and circadian contributions to adolescent alcohol use disorder. Alcohol, Vol. 49, Issue. 4, p. 377.

    McKee, Laura G. Faro, Alyssa L. O'Leary, Jessica L. Spratt, Kelsey H. and Jones, Deborah J. 2015. Socializing Positive Emotion: A Qualitative Study of African American Single Mothers and Their Adolescent Youth. Family Relations, Vol. 64, Issue. 5, p. 635.

    Petrova, Mariya Wyman, Peter A. Schmeelk-Cone, Karen and Pisani, Anthony R. 2015. Positive-Themed Suicide Prevention Messages Delivered by Adolescent Peer Leaders: Proximal Impact on Classmates' Coping Attitudes and Perceptions of Adult Support. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Vol. 45, Issue. 6, p. 651.

    Romens, Sarah E. Casement, Melynda D. McAloon, Rose Keenan, Kate Hipwell, Alison E. Guyer, Amanda E. and Forbes, Erika E. 2015. Adolescent girls’ neural response to reward mediates the relation between childhood financial disadvantage and depression. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 56, Issue. 11, p. 1177.


Neural systems of positive affect: Relevance to understanding child and adolescent depression?

  • ERIKA E. FORBES (a1) and RONALD E. DAHL (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2005

From an affective neuroscience perspective, the goal of achieving a deeper, more mechanistic understanding of the development of depression will require rigorous models that address the core underlying affective changes. Such an understanding will necessitate developing and testing hypotheses focusing on specific components of the complex neural systems involved in the regulation of emotion and motivation. In this paper, we illustrate these principles by describing one example of this type of approach: examining the role of disruptions in neural systems of positive affect in major depressive disorder in school-age children and adolescents. We begin by defining positive affect, proposing that positive affect can be distinguished from negative affect by its neurobehavioral features. We provide an overview of neural systems related to reward and positive affect, with a discussion of their potential involvement in depression. We describe a developmental psychopathology framework, addressing developmental issues that could play a role in the etiology and maintenance of early-onset depression. We review the literature on altered positive affect in depression, suggesting directions for future research. Finally, we discuss the treatment implications of this framework.This research was supported by a Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, NIMH Training Grant T32 MH018269, and NIMH Research Network R24 MH67346. We thank David J. Kupfer for his compelling suggestions about clinical course and development across the life span, and we thank Anna Lotze for help with references.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Erika E. Forbes, E-719 Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; E-mail:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Development and Psychopathology
  • ISSN: 0954-5794
  • EISSN: 1469-2198
  • URL: /core/journals/development-and-psychopathology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *