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Cardiovascular response to peer rejection as a biomarker for adolescent depression risk


Heart disease and major depressive disorder represent leading causes of death and disability in the U.S., respectively. Although research identifies a strong correlation between adult major depressive disorder (MDD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), there is a paucity of research examining the effects of MDD across the adolescent transition. Identifying cardiovascular markers of depression risk in early life could help inform depression prevention and intervention programs, and highlight those that may be at risk for depression. Preliminary results suggest that depressed girls, relative to high risk and control girls, have higher overall blood pressure and experience a large jump in pulse pressure over the pubertal transition. In response to a modified YIPS-C social rejection paradigm, depressed girls show blunted heart rate reactivity and systolic blood pressure reactivity from baseline to stressor relative to control and high risk girls. These potential biomarkers of depression (high blood pressure, low cardiovascular reactivity, and an elevation in pulse pressure across the adolescent transition) are also risk factors for CVD. Addressing these factors early on may not only help MDD intervention and prevention, but also help decrease future CVD risk.


Speakman, Rachel, "Cardiovascular response to peer rejection as a biomarker for adolescent depression risk" (2015). Summer Research Symposium. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.



  • Summer Research Symposium

    Each year, Brown University showcases the research of its undergraduates at the Summer Research Symposium. More than half of the student-researchers are UTRA recipients, while others receive funding from a variety of Brown-administered and national programs and fellowships and go …