Publications by authors named "Claudia M Haase"

41 Publications

Emotion regulation in the face of loss: How detachment, positive reappraisal, and acceptance shape experiences, physiology, and perceptions in late life.

Emotion 2021 Mar 4. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University.

How individuals regulate emotions in the face of loss has important consequences for well-being and health, but we know little about which emotion regulation strategies are most effective for older adults for whom loss is ubiquitous. The present laboratory-based study examined effects of three emotion regulation strategies (i.e., detachment, positive reappraisal, or acceptance in response to film clips depicting loss) on subjective emotional experiences, physiology, and perceptions of emotion regulation success and motivation in healthy older adults (N = 129, age range = 64-83). Results showed that, first, detachment decreased emotional experiences across the board; positive reappraisal decreased negative and increased positive emotional experiences; while acceptance did not alter emotional experiences. Second, detachment decreased physiological arousal (driven by increases in interbeat interval and decreases in respiration rate) whereas positive reappraisal and acceptance did not alter physiological arousal compared with "just watch" trials. Third, individuals felt most successful and willing to put forth their best effort when implementing acceptance, while they felt least successful and least willing to put forth their best effort for positive reappraisal. These findings illuminate longstanding discussions regarding how individuals can best regulate emotions in the face of loss. They show that older adults can regulate their emotional experiences and (to a lesser extent) their physiology with detachment numbing emotional experiences and decreasing physiological arousal; positive reappraisal brightening emotional experiences; and acceptance resulting in the highest perceptions of success and motivation. Thus, each emotion regulation strategy appears to be most effective in specific domains for older adults. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000932DOI Listing
March 2021

Reactive, Agentic, Apathetic, or Challenged? Aging, Emotion, and Coping During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Gerontologist 2021 02;61(2):217-227

Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Background And Objectives: Advanced age is generally associated with improved emotional well-being, but the coronavirus 2019 pandemic unleashed a global stressor that gravely threatened the physical well-being and ostensibly challenged the emotional well-being of older adults disproportionately. The current study investigated differences in emotional experiences and coping strategies between younger and older adults during the pandemic, and whether these differences were accounted for by age differences in appraisal of the pandemic.

Research Design And Methods: We asked younger (n = 181) and older (n = 176) adult participants to report their stress, appraisals of the pandemic, emotions, and the ways in which they were coping with the pandemic.

Results: Results indicated that older adults experienced less stress and less negative affect and used greater problem-focused coping and less avoidant coping in response to the pandemic than younger adults. Furthermore, age differences in affect and coping were partially accounted for by age differences in appraisals of the pandemic.

Discussion And Implications: Despite their objectively higher risk of illness and death due to the pandemic, older adults experienced less negative affect and used more agentic coping strategies than younger adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnaa196DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7799097PMC
February 2021

Adaptability and cohesion in youth at clinical high-risk for psychosis: A multi-informant approach.

Schizophr Res 2020 Dec 1. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University, United States of America.

Background: Families can play a critical role in the development of psychosis. Adaptability (i.e., flexibility) and cohesion (i.e., emotional bonding) are important markers of family functioning, but have rarely been studied in youth at clinical high risk for developing psychosis (CHR), especially not from a multi-informant perspective.

Methods: The current study examined adaptability and cohesion (using youth and mother reports) and clinical symptoms (in youth) among 75 youth at CHR and their mothers (N = 48) and 79 matched healthy controls and their mothers (N = 42).

Results: Findings showed that (1) youth at CHR and their mothers reported lower adaptability and cohesion than their healthy control counterparts. (2) All youth reported lower adaptability than mothers, but only youth at CHR (not control youth) reported lower cohesion than their mothers. (3) There were no significant links between CHR youth and mother reports of adaptability and cohesion and clinical symptoms.

Conclusions: Findings support existing literature that families with a youth at CHR are at risk for poorer functioning and demonstrate pronounced youth-mother discrepancies with youth at CHR (but not controls) reporting lower emotional bonding than their mothers. Future studies may further probe multi-informant perspectives of family environment as a clinical marker in the clinical high risk state.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2020.11.039DOI Listing
December 2020

Positive Affect Is Associated With Less Memory Decline: Evidence From a 9-Year Longitudinal Study.

Psychol Sci 2020 11 22;31(11):1386-1395. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University.

Memory decline is a concern for aging populations across the globe. Positive affect plays an important role in healthy aging, but its link with memory decline has remained unclear. In the present study, we examined associations between positive affect (i.e., feeling enthusiastic, attentive, proud, active) and memory (i.e., immediate and delayed recall), drawing from a 9-year longitudinal study of a national sample of 991 middle-age and older U.S. adults. Results revealed that positive affect was associated with less memory decline across 9 years when analyses controlled for age, gender, education, depression, negative affect, and extraversion. Findings generalized across another measure that assessed additional facets of positive affect, across different (but not all) facets of positive affect and memory, and across age, gender, and education; findings did not emerge for negative affect. Reverse longitudinal associations between memory and positive affect were not significant. Possible pathways linking positive affect and memory functioning are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797620953883DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7797593PMC
November 2020

Smaller Volume in Left-Lateralized Brain Structures Correlates with Greater Experience of Negative Non-target Emotions in Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Cereb Cortex 2021 Jan;31(1):15-31

University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Subjective emotional experience that is congruent with a given situation (i.e., target emotions) is critical for human survival (e.g., feeling disgusted in response to contaminated food motivates withdrawal behaviors). Neurodegenerative diseases including frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease affect brain regions critical for cognitive and emotional functioning, resulting in increased experience of emotions incongruent with the situation (i.e., non-target emotions, such as feeling happy when seeing someone grieving). We examined neuroanatomical correlates of subjective experience of non-target emotions in 147 patients with neurodegenerative diseases and 26 healthy individuals. Participants watched three films intended to elicit particular target emotions and rated their experience of negative and positive target and non-target emotions after watching each film. We found that smaller volume in left hemisphere regions (e.g., caudate, putamen, and dorsal anterior insula) was associated with greater experience of negative non-target emotions. Follow-up analyses confirmed that these effects were left-lateralized. No correlates emerged for positive non-target emotions. These findings suggest that volume loss in left-hemisphere regions produces a more diffuse, incongruent experience of non-target emotions. These findings provide a potential neuroanatomical basis for understanding how subjective emotional experience is constructed in the brain and how this can be disrupted in neurodegenerative disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhaa193DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7727364PMC
January 2021

Alterations in facial expressions of emotion: Determining the promise of ultrathin slicing approaches and comparing human and automated coding methods in psychosis risk.

Emotion 2020 Jun 25. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Department of Psychology.

Alterations in facial expressions of emotion are a hallmark of psychopathology and may be present before the onset of mental illness. Technological advances have spurred interest in examining alterations based on "thin slices" of behavior using automated approaches. However, questions remain. First, can alterations be detected in ultrathin slices of behavior? Second, how do automated approaches converge with human coding techniques? The present study examined ultrathin (i.e., 1-min) slices of video-recorded clinical interviews of 42 individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis and 42 matched controls. Facial expressions of emotion (e.g., joy, anger) were examined using two automated facial analysis programs and coded by trained human raters (using the Expressive Emotional Behavior Coding System). Results showed that ultrathin (i.e., 1-min) slices of behavior were sufficient to reveal alterations in facial expressions of emotion, specifically blunted joy expressions in individuals at CHR (with supplementary analyses probing links with attenuated positive symptoms and functioning). Furthermore, both automated analysis programs converged in the ability to detect blunted joy expressions and were consistent with human coding at the level of both second-by-second and aggregate data. Finally, there were areas of divergence across approaches for other emotional expressions beyond joy. These data suggest that ultrathin slices of behavior can yield clues about emotional dysfunction. Further, automated approaches (which do not require lengthy training and coder time but do lend well to mobile assessment and computational modeling) show promise, but careful evaluation of convergence with human coding is needed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000819DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759595PMC
June 2020

Individual differences in sadness coherence: Associations with dispositional affect and age.

Emotion 2020 Mar 19. Epub 2020 Mar 19.

School of Education and Social Policy.

The current laboratory-based study examined individual differences in sadness coherence (i.e., coherence between objectively coded sad facial expressions and heart rate in response to a sad film clip) and associations with dispositional affect (i.e., positive and negative affect, extraversion, neuroticism) and age in a sample of younger and older adults. Results showed that (a) greater sadness coherence was associated with lower dispositional negative affect (i.e., greater positive to negative affect ratio; lower neuroticism) and (b) older adults had greater sadness coherence than younger adults. Findings remained stable when controlling for covariates. Results were specific to coherence characterized by an inverse association between heart rate and facial expressions of sadness (i.e., did not emerge for absolute changes in heart rate or skin conductance), specific to sad facial expressions (i.e., did not emerge for happy facial expressions), specific to stimulus (i.e., did not emerge for sadness coherence in response to a happy film clip), generalized across overall levels of emotional responding (i.e., sad facial expressions; heart rate reactivity), and remained stable when controlling for expressive suppression. These findings demonstrate that individuals who exhibit greater sadness coherence experience more favorable dispositional affect, consistent with evolutionary-functionalist models of emotion, and that sadness coherence is higher in late life, consistent with developmental accounts of heightened reactivity to loss in late life. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000731DOI Listing
March 2020

Neuroanatomy of expressive suppression: The role of the insula.

Emotion 2021 Mar 19;21(2):405-418. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Department of Psychology.

Expressive suppression is a response-focused regulatory strategy aimed at concealing the outward expression of emotion that is already underway. Expressive suppression requires the integration of interoception, proprioception, and social awareness to guide behavior in alignment with personal and interpersonal goals-all processes known to involve the insular cortex. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) provides a useful patient model for studying the insula's role in socioemotional regulation. The insula is a key target of early atrophy in FTD, causing patients to lose the ability to represent the salience of internal and external conditions and to use these representations to guide behavior. We examined a sample of 59 patients with FTD, 52 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), and 38 neurologically healthy controls. Subjects viewed 2 disgust-eliciting films in the laboratory. During the first film, subjects were instructed to simply watch (emotional reactivity trial); during the second, they were instructed to hide their emotions (expressive suppression trial). Structural images from a subsample of participants ( = 42; 11 FTD patients, 11 AD patients, and 20 controls) were examined in conjunction with behavior. FreeSurfer was used to quantify regional gray matter volume in 41 empirically derived neural regions in both hemispheres. Of the 3 groups studied, FTD patients showed the least expressive suppression and had the smallest insula volumes, even after controlling for age, gender, and emotional reactivity. Among the brain regions examined, the insula was the only significant predictor of expressive suppression ability, with lower insula gray matter volume in both hemispheres predicting less expressive suppression. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000710DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7302989PMC
March 2021

Coping with family stress in individuals at clinical high-risk for psychosis.

Schizophr Res 2020 02 12;216:222-228. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University, United States of America.

Background: Despite the long-emphasized role of the family environment in the schizophrenia literature, coping with family stress has been neglected in research on the psychosis risk period.

Methods: The sample consisted of 75 youth at clinical high-risk (CHR) for psychosis and 79 matched healthy controls who reported on their use of engagement and disengagement coping strategies in response to stress with parents and perceived social support (i.e., advice availability, family support and strain). Participants were also assessed for clinical symptoms.

Results: Individuals at CHR reported similar levels of engagement strategies (e.g., emotion regulation, positive thinking) and more frequent use of disengagement strategies (e.g., avoidance, denial) compared to healthy controls. In individuals at CHR (as well as healthy controls), greater use of engagement strategies predicted greater perceptions of availability of advice support, whereas greater employment of disengagement strategies predicted lower perceived social support from the family and greater family strain. In individuals at CHR (as well as healthy controls), engagement strategies were not linked to any clinical outcomes, whereas disengagement strategies were closely tied to anxiety and depression (but not psychosis symptoms in individuals at CHR).

Conclusions: Individuals at CHR appeared to engage the same amount as controls, but disengage more often when coping with family stress; this pattern was linked to perceptions of social support and tied to a putative family environment as well as clinical phenomenology. The findings have implications for targeting interventions for CHR populations during a vulnerable period for stress and social change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2019.11.057DOI Listing
February 2020

Trait emotional experience in individuals with schizophrenia and youth at clinical high risk for psychosis.

BJPsych Open 2019 Sep 10;5(5):e78. Epub 2019 Sep 10.

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, USA.

Background: Disturbances in trait emotions are a predominant feature in schizophrenia. However, less is known about (a) differences in trait emotion across phases of the illness such as the clinical high-risk (CHR) phase and (b) whether abnormalities in trait emotion that are associated with negative symptoms are driven by primary (i.e. idiopathic) or secondary (e.g. depression, anxiety) factors.

Aims: To examine profiles of trait affective disturbance and their clinical correlates in individuals with schizophrenia and individuals at CHR for psychosis.

Method: In two studies (sample 1: 56 out-patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and 34 demographically matched individuals without schizophrenia (controls); sample 2: 50 individuals at CHR and 56 individuals not at CHR (controls)), participants completed self-report trait positive affect and negative affect questionnaires, clinical symptom interviews (positive, negative, disorganised, depression, anxiety) and community-based functional outcome measures.

Results: Both clinical groups reported lower levels of positive affect (specific to joy among individuals with schizophrenia) and higher levels of negative affect compared with controls. For individuals with schizophrenia, links were found between positive affect and negative symptoms (which remained after controlling for secondary factors) and between negative affect and positive symptoms. For individuals at CHR, links were found between both affect dimensions and both types of symptom (which were largely accounted for by secondary factors).

Conclusions: Both clinical groups showed some evidence of reduced trait positive affect and elevated trait negative affect, suggesting that increasing trait positive affect and reducing trait negative affect is an important treatment goal across both populations. Clinical correlates of these emotional abnormalities were more integrally linked to clinical symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia and more closely linked to secondary influences such as depression and anxiety in individuals at CHR.

Declaration Of Interest: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2019.64DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6737516PMC
September 2019

Neurodegenerative Disease Caregivers' 5-HTTLPR Genotype Moderates the Effect of Patients' Empathic Accuracy Deficits on Caregivers' Well-Being.

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2019 10 29;27(10):1046-1056. Epub 2019 Apr 29.

Department of Psychology (JLW, CLB, AYH, PDS, K-HC, RWL), University of California, Berkeley, CA. Electronic address:

Objective: To test the hypothesis that a functional polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene (serotonin-transporter-linked polymorphic region [5-HTTLPR]), which is thought to be associated with differential environmental sensitivity, moderates the association between low levels of empathic accuracy (i.e., ability to recognize emotions in others) in patients with neurodegenerative disease and caregivers' well-being.

Methods: Participants were 54 patients with neurodegenerative disease and their caregivers. Patients' empathic accuracy was measured using a dynamic tracking task in which they continuously rated the emotions of a character in a film; accuracy was determined by comparing patient ratings with those made by an expert panel. Caregivers provided a saliva sample for genotyping. Caregivers' well-being was measured as a latent construct indicated by validated measures of depression, anxiety, and negative affect.

Results: Lower levels of patients' empathic accuracy were associated with lower levels of caregivers' well-being. Importantly, caregivers' 5-HTTLPR genotype moderated this association such that lower empathic accuracy in patients predicted lower well-being for caregivers with the short/short genotype (standardized β = 0.66), but not for caregivers with the short/long (standardized β = 0.05) or long/long genotypes (standardized β = -0.21).

Conclusion: Consistent with previous findings that the short/short variant of 5-HTTLPR is associated with greater sensitivity to environmental influences, caregivers with the short/short variant manifest lower well-being when caring for a patient with low levels of empathic accuracy than caregivers with the other variants. This finding contributes to the authors' understanding of biological factors associated with individual differences in caregiver vulnerability and resilience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2019.04.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6739173PMC
October 2019

Alterations in facial expressivity in youth at clinical high-risk for psychosis.

J Abnorm Psychol 2019 May 14;128(4):341-351. Epub 2019 Mar 14.

Department of Psychology, Northwestern University.

Negative symptoms, such as blunted facial affect, are core features of psychotic disorders that predict poor functional outcome. However, it is unknown whether these impairments occur prior to the onset of psychosis. Understanding this phenomenon in the psychosis risk period has significant relevance for elucidating pathogenic processes, as well as potential for informing a viable new behavioral marker for broader social dysfunction and clinical course. The current study sought to determine the nature of facial expression deficits among individuals at clinical high-risk (CHR) for developing psychosis using a comprehensive approach, incorporating clinical interview ratings and automated facial expression coding analysis. A total of 42 CHR and 42 control participants completed clinical interviews and digitally taped segments were submitted into an automated, computerized tool to assess for 7 facial expressions (joy, anger, surprise, fear, contempt, disgust, sadness). Furthermore, relationships between facial expressions and social functioning and available scores on a psychosis conversion risk calculator from a total of 78 participants (39 CHR and 39 controls) were examined. Relationships between measures were also investigated (data was available for the Prodromal Inventory of Negative Symptoms among 33 CHR and 25 controls). Findings from clinical interview indicated that the CHR group exhibited elevated blunting. Furthermore, automated analyses showed that the CHR group displayed blunting in expressions of joy but surprisingly, increased anger facial expressions. Lastly, irregularities in facial expressions were related to decreased social functioning and increased psychosis conversion risk calculator scores, signaling heightened likelihood of conversion to psychosis. These findings suggest that alterations in facial expressivity occur early in the pathogenesis of psychosis and provide evidence for the efficacy of higher resolution measures of facial expressivity in psychosis research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/abn0000413DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6499690PMC
May 2019

Responding to the emotions of others: Age differences in facial expressions and age-specific associations with relational connectedness.

Emotion 2019 Dec 7;19(8):1437-1449. Epub 2019 Feb 7.

Department of Psychology.

Responding prosocially to the emotion of others may become increasingly important in late life, especially as partners and friends encounter a growing number of losses, challenges, and declines. Facial expressions are important avenues for communicating empathy and concern, and for signaling that help is forthcoming when needed. In a study of young, middle-aged, and older adults, we measured emotional responses (facial expressions, subjective experience, and physiological activation) to a sad, distressing film clip and a happy, uplifting film clip. Results revealed that, relative to younger adults, older adults showed more sadness and confusion/concern facial expressions during the distressing film clip. Moreover, for older adults only, more sadness and fewer disgust facial expressions during the distressing film clip were associated with higher levels of relational connectedness. These findings remained stable when accounting for subjective emotional experience, physiological activation, and trait empathy in response to the film clip. When examining the uplifting film clip, older adults showed more happiness facial expressions relative to younger adults at trend levels. More facial expressions of happiness were associated with higher levels of relational connectedness, but unlike the effect of sadness expressions, this was not moderated by age. These findings underscore an important adaptive social function of facial expressions-particularly in response to the distress of others-in late life. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000534DOI Listing
December 2019

Evaluating Patient Brain and Behavior Pathways to Caregiver Health in Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2019 10;47(1-2):42-54. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA,

Background: Caregivers of patients with neurodegenerative diseases are at heightened risk for serious health problems, but health differences between individual caregivers abound.

Aims: To determine whether atrophy in patient brains could be used to identify caregivers at heightened risk for health problems and which patient variables mediate this relationship.

Methods: In 162 patient-caregiver dyads, we assessed patient atrophy using structural MRI, caregiver health, and patient behavior and cognitive symptoms.

Results: Patient atrophy in the right insula and medial frontal gyrus was associated with worse caregiver health; this relationship was partially mediated by patient neuropsychiatric symptoms, and assessing atrophy in these regions improved predictions of poor caregiver health above and beyond patient behavioral symptoms.

Conclusions: This study shows the value of patients' brain data in identifying caregivers at risk for becoming sick themselves.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000495345DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6568322PMC
December 2019

Socioeconomic status as a moderator of the link between reappraisal and anxiety: Laboratory-based and longitudinal evidence.

Emotion 2019 Dec 17;19(8):1478-1489. Epub 2018 Dec 17.

School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University.

Cognitive reappraisal reduces anxiety, but we know little about how socioeconomic status (SES) moderates this association. Drawing from developmental, affective, and health psychological frameworks, the present 2 studies investigated SES as a moderator of reappraisal and anxiety using performance-based (Study 1) and self-report (Study 1 and 2) measures of reappraisal; analyzing nonclinical (Study 1) and clinical (Study 2) symptoms of anxiety; and utilizing a small, laboratory-based study (Study 1) and a large-scale 9-year longitudinal study (Study 2). Across studies, findings showed that reappraisal predicted lower anxiety at low levels of SES but did not or less so at high levels of SES. These results were found for self-report measures of reappraisal; generalized across nonclinical and clinical symptoms of anxiety; and emerged both concurrently and prospectively across 9 years. Findings remained stable when controlling for a number of covariates, including age, gender, and race; were more robust for income than education; largely generalized across gender (except for a men-specific moderation effect for education in Study 2); and were directional such that SES did not moderate associations between anxiety and changes in reappraisal. These findings highlight the importance of considering socioeconomic context in the link between reappraisal and anxiety. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000539DOI Listing
December 2019

Age-related changes in emotional behavior: Evidence from a 13-year longitudinal study of long-term married couples.

Emotion 2020 Mar 29;20(2):149-163. Epub 2018 Nov 29.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

We examined age-related changes in emotional behavior in a sample of middle-aged and older long-term married couples over a 13-year period. Data were collected at 3 waves, each occurring 5 to 6 years apart. For the present study, only couples who participated in all 3 waves were examined (n = 87). Couples were either in the middle-aged group (40-50 years old, married at least 15 years) or the older group (60-70 years old, married at least 35 years). At each wave, couples engaged in 15-min unrehearsed conversations about an area of disagreement in their marriage. Emotional behaviors during the conversation were objectively coded using the Specific Affect Coding System. Latent growth curve analyses revealed that, for both husbands and wives, negative emotional behavior (primarily belligerence, defensiveness, fear/tension, and whining) decreased and positive emotional behavior (primarily humor, enthusiasm, and validation) increased with age. Findings generalized across middle-aged and older cohorts and levels of marital satisfaction. These findings support theories that suggest that positive emotion increases and negative emotion decreases with age, expanding upon previous findings by examining objectively coded emotional behaviors longitudinally in an interpersonal context. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000551DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6541548PMC
March 2020

Increased subjective experience of non-target emotions in patients with frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Curr Opin Behav Sci 2017 Jun 7;15:77-84. Epub 2017 Jun 7.

Institute of Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-5050, United States.

Although laboratory procedures are designed to produce specific emotions, participants often experience mixed emotions (i.e., target and non-target emotions). We examined non-target emotions in patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), other neurodegenerative diseases, and healthy controls. Participants watched film clips designed to produce three target emotions. Subjective experience of non-target emotions was assessed and emotional facial expressions were coded. Compared to patients with other neurodegenerative diseases and healthy controls, FTD patients reported more positive and negative non-target emotions, whereas AD patients reported more positive non-target emotions. There were no group differences in facial expressions of non-target emotions. We interpret these findings as reflecting deficits in processing interoceptive and contextual information resulting from neurodegeneration in brain regions critical for creating subjective emotional experience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.05.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5810592PMC
June 2017

Greater Experience of Negative Non-Target Emotions by Patients with Neurodegenerative Diseases Is Related to Lower Emotional Well-Being in Caregivers.

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2017 8;44(5-6):245-255. Epub 2017 Dec 8.

Institute of Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Background: Behavioral symptoms in patients with neurodegenerative diseases can be particularly challenging for caregivers. Previously, we reported that patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) experienced emotions that were atypical or incongruent with a given situation (i.e., non-target emotions).

Aim: We tested the hypothesis that greater experience of non-target emotions by patients is associated with lower caregiver emotional well-being.

Methods: 178 patients with FTD, AD, or other neurodegenerative diseases and 35 healthy individuals watched 3 films designed to induce amusement, sadness, and disgust, and then reported their emotions during the films. Caregivers of the patients reported their own emotional well-being on the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey.

Results: In response to the amusement and sadness (but not disgust) films, greater experience of non-target emotions by patients was related to lower caregiver emotional well-being. These effects were specific to patients' experience of negative non-target emotions (i.e., not found for positive non-target emotions or for negative or positive target emotions).

Conclusion: The findings reveal a previously unstudied patient behavior that is related to worse caregiver emotional well-being. Future research and clinical assessment may benefit from evaluating non-target emotions in patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000481132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5906194PMC
September 2018

A path model of different forms of impulsivity with externalizing and internalizing psychopathology: Towards greater specificity.

Br J Clin Psychol 2017 Sep 11;56(3):235-252. Epub 2017 May 11.

School of Education and Social Policy and (by courtesy) Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA.

Objectives: A growing empirical literature indicates that emotion-related impulsivity (compared to impulsivity that is unrelated to emotion) is particularly relevant for understanding a broad range of psychopathologies. Recent work, however, has differentiated two forms of emotion-related impulsivity: A factor termed Pervasive Influence of Feelings captures tendencies for emotions (mostly negative emotions) to quickly shape thoughts, and a factor termed Feelings Trigger Action captures tendencies for positive and negative emotions to quickly and reflexively shape behaviour and speech. This study used path modelling to consider links from emotion-related and non-emotion-related impulsivity to a broad range of psychopathologies.

Design And Methods: Undergraduates completed self-report measures of impulsivity, depression, anxiety, aggression, and substance use symptoms.

Results: A path model (N = 261) indicated specificity of these forms of impulsivity. Pervasive Influence of Feelings was related to anxiety and depression, whereas Feelings Trigger Action and non-emotion-related impulsivity were related to aggression and substance use.

Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that emotion-relevant impulsivity could be a potentially important treatment target for a set of psychopathologies.

Practitioner Points: Recent work has differentiated two forms of emotion-related impulsivity. This study tests a multivariate path model linking emotion-related and non-emotion-related impulsivity with multiple forms of psychopathology. Impulsive thoughts in response to negative emotions were related to anxiety and depression. Impulsive actions in response to emotions were related to aggression and substance use, as did non-emotion-related impulsivity. The study was limited by the reliance on self-report measures of impulsivity and psychopathology. There is a need for longitudinal work on how these forms of impulsivity predict the onset and course of psychopathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjc.12135DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5538924PMC
September 2017

Positive urgency and emotional reactivity: Evidence for altered responding to positive stimuli.

Emotion 2017 04 7;17(3):442-449. Epub 2016 Nov 7.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

Positive urgency, defined as a tendency to become impulsive during positive affective states, has gained support as a form of impulsivity that is particularly important for understanding psychopathology. Despite this, little is known about the emotional mechanisms and correlates of this form of impulsivity. We hypothesized that positive urgency would be related to greater emotional reactivity in response to a positive film clip. Seventy-five undergraduates watched a positive film clip, and a multimodal assessment of emotion was conducted, including subjective emotional experience, physiological activation (i.e., heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, skin conductance), and facial emotional behavior (i.e., objectively coded using the Facial Action Coding System). Positive urgency was not significantly related to greater positive emotional reactivity but rather a more complex array of emotions expressed in facial behavior, as indexed by similar levels of positive yet greater levels of negative behavior. These findings show that positive urgency may be linked to altered emotionality, but does not appear related to heightened positive emotional reactivity. Potential implications for functional outcomes are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000240DOI Listing
April 2017

Interpersonal emotional behaviors and physical health: A 20-year longitudinal study of long-term married couples.

Emotion 2016 10 23;16(7):965-77. Epub 2016 May 23.

Department of Psychology and Institute of Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley.

Objectively coded interpersonal emotional behaviors that emerged during a 15-min marital conflict interaction predicted the development of physical symptoms in a 20-year longitudinal study of long-term marriages. Dyadic latent growth curve modeling showed that anger behavior predicted increases in cardiovascular symptoms and stonewalling behavior predicted increases in musculoskeletal symptoms. Both associations were found for husbands (although cross-lagged path models also showed some support for wives) and were controlled for sociodemographic characteristics (age, education) and behaviors (i.e., exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption) known to influence health. Both associations did not exist at the start of the study, but only emerged over the ensuing 20 years. There was some support for the specificity of these relationships (i.e., stonewalling behavior did not predict cardiovascular symptoms; anger behavior did not predict musculoskeletal symptoms; neither symptom was predicted by fear nor sadness behavior), with the anger-cardiovascular relationship emerging as most robust. Using cross-lagged path models to probe directionality of these associations, emotional behaviors predicted physical health symptoms over time (with some reverse associations found as well). These findings illuminate longstanding theoretical and applied issues concerning the association between interpersonal emotional behaviors and physical health and suggest opportunities for preventive interventions focused on specific emotions to help address major public health problems. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0040239DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5042820PMC
October 2016

Insular atrophy and diminished disgust reactivity.

Emotion 2016 09 5;16(6):903-12. Epub 2016 May 5.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

Disgust is an emotion that helps us deal with potential contamination (Rozin & Fallon, 1987). It produces a distinctive facial expression (e.g., wrinkled nose) and a physiological response that is accompanied by strong visceral sensations (e.g., nausea). Given the important role that the anterior insula plays in processing and integrating visceral information (Craig, 2009), it is likely to be centrally involved in disgust. Despite this, few studies have examined the link between insular degeneration and the experience, physiology, and expression of disgust. We studied a group that was heterogeneous in terms of insular damage: 84 patients with neurodegenerative diseases (i.e., frontotemporal dementia, corticobasal syndrome, progressive supranuclear palsy, Alzheimer's disease) and 29 controls. Subjects viewed films that elicit high levels of disgust and sadness. Emotional reactivity was assessed using self-report, peripheral physiology, and facial behavior. Regional brain volumes (insula, putamen, pallidum, caudate, and amygdala) were determined from structural MRIs using the FreeSurfer method. Results indicated that smaller insular volumes were associated with reduced disgust responding in self-report and physiological reactivity, but not in facial behavior. In terms of the specificity of these findings, insular volume did not predict sadness reactivity, and disgust reactivity was not predicted by putamen, pallidum, and caudate volumes (lower self-reported disgust was associated with smaller amygdala volume). These findings underscore the central role of the insula in the experience and physiology of disgust. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000195DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5009015PMC
September 2016

Treatment response in couple therapy: Relationship adjustment and individual functioning change processes.

J Fam Psychol 2015 Oct 10;29(5):657-66. Epub 2015 Aug 10.

School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University.

This study, a naturalistic investigation of the process of change in relationship adjustment and individual functioning during conjoint therapy, examined the first 8 sessions of a multisystemic model of couple therapy, integrative problem-centered metaframeworks (Breunlin, Pinsof, Russell, & Lebow, 2011; Pinsof, Breunlin, Russell, & Lebow, 2011). The sample consisted of 125 heterosexual couples who reported on their relationship adjustment and individual functioning before every session using the Systemic Therapy Inventory of Change (Pinsof et al., 2009; Pinsof, Zinbarg, et al., in press). Data were analyzed using dyadic latent growth curve and cross-lagged models. For both men and women, relationship adjustment and individual functioning showed nonlinear change, increasing during Sessions 1-4 and stabilizing during Sessions 5-8. At pretreatment, women reported lower levels of relationship adjustment than men; no gender differences existed in initial levels of individual functioning or in the change trajectories of relationship adjustment or individual functioning. Higher relationship adjustment predicted positive change in individual functioning for men (but not for women). In contrast, there were no cross-lagged effects of individual functioning on relationship adjustment for men or women. The results demonstrate the importance of examining the processes by which relational and individual pathology respond to couple-based interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000131DOI Listing
October 2015

Short alleles, bigger smiles? The effect of 5-HTTLPR on positive emotional expressions.

Emotion 2015 Aug 1;15(4):438-48. Epub 2015 Jun 1.

Department of Psychology and Institute for Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley.

The present research examined the effect of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene on objectively coded positive emotional expressions (i.e., laughing and smiling behavior objectively coded using the Facial Action Coding System). Three studies with independent samples of participants were conducted. Study 1 examined young adults watching still cartoons. Study 2 examined young, middle-aged, and older adults watching a thematically ambiguous yet subtly amusing film clip. Study 3 examined middle-aged and older spouses discussing an area of marital conflict (that typically produces both positive and negative emotion). Aggregating data across studies, results showed that the short allele of 5-HTTLPR predicted heightened positive emotional expressions. Results remained stable when controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, and depressive symptoms. These findings are consistent with the notion that the short allele of 5-HTTLPR functions as an emotion amplifier, which may confer heightened susceptibility to environmental conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000074DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4861141PMC
August 2015

A multiancestral genome-wide exome array study of Alzheimer disease, frontotemporal dementia, and progressive supranuclear palsy.

JAMA Neurol 2015 Apr;72(4):414-22

Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles10Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles.

Importance: Previous studies have indicated a heritable component of the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). However, few have examined the contribution of low-frequency coding variants on a genome-wide level.

Objective: To identify low-frequency coding variants that affect susceptibility to AD, FTD, and PSP.

Design, Setting, And Participants: We used the Illumina HumanExome BeadChip array to genotype a large number of variants (most of which are low-frequency coding variants) in a cohort of patients with neurodegenerative disease (224 with AD, 168 with FTD, and 48 with PSP) and in 224 control individuals without dementia enrolled between 2005-2012 from multiple centers participating in the Genetic Investigation in Frontotemporal Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (GIFT) Study. An additional multiancestral replication cohort of 240 patients with AD and 240 controls without dementia was used to validate suggestive findings. Variant-level association testing and gene-based testing were performed.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Statistical association of genetic variants with clinical diagnosis of AD, FTD, and PSP.

Results: Genetic variants typed by the exome array explained 44%, 53%, and 57% of the total phenotypic variance of AD, FTD, and PSP, respectively. An association with the known AD gene ABCA7 was replicated in several ancestries (discovery P=.0049, European P=.041, African American P=.043, and Asian P=.027), suggesting that exonic variants within this gene modify AD susceptibility. In addition, 2 suggestive candidate genes, DYSF (P=5.53×10(-5)) and PAXIP1 (P=2.26×10(-4)), were highlighted in patients with AD and differentially expressed in AD brain. Corroborating evidence from other exome array studies and gene expression data points toward potential involvement of these genes in the pathogenesis of AD.

Conclusions And Relevance: Low-frequency coding variants with intermediate effect size may account for a significant fraction of the genetic susceptibility to AD and FTD. Furthermore, we found evidence that coding variants in the known susceptibility gene ABCA7, as well as candidate genes DYSF and PAXIP1, confer risk for AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.4040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4397175PMC
April 2015

Neuroprotective pathways: lifestyle activity, brain pathology, and cognition in cognitively normal older adults.

Neurobiol Aging 2014 Aug 20;35(8):1873-82. Epub 2014 Feb 20.

Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA; School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.

This study used path analysis to examine effects of cognitive activity and physical activity on cognitive functioning in older adults, through pathways involving beta-amyloid (Aβ) burden, cerebrovascular lesions, and neural injury within the brain regions affected in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Ninety-two cognitively normal older adults (75.2 ± 5.6 years) reported lifetime cognitive activity and current physical activity using validated questionnaires. For each participant, we evaluated cortical Aβ burden (using [(11)C] labeled Pittsburgh-Compound-B positron emission tomography), cerebrovascular lesions (using magnetic resonance imaging-defined white matter lesion [WML]), and neural integrity within AD regions (using a multimodal neuroimaging biomarker). Path models (adjusted for age, gender, and education) indicated that higher lifetime cognitive activity and higher current physical activity was associated with fewer WMLs. Lower WML volumes were in turn related to higher neural integrity and higher global cognitive functioning. As shown previously, higher lifetime cognitive activity was associated with lower [(11)C] labeled Pittsburgh-Compound-B retention, which itself moderated the impact of neural integrity on cognitive functioning. Lifestyle activity may thus promote cognitive health in aging by protecting against cerebrovascular pathology and Aβ pathology thought to be relevant to AD development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.02.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4019766PMC
August 2014

Cortical thickness mediates the effect of β-amyloid on episodic memory.

Neurology 2014 Mar 31;82(9):761-7. Epub 2014 Jan 31.

From the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (S.V., M.W., C.M.M., N.A., W.J.J.), University of California, Berkeley; Department of Neurology (B.R.R., D.M., C.D.), University of California, Davis; School of Education and Social Policy (C.M.H.), Northwestern University; Departments of Preventive Medicine (W.M.) and Neurology (H.C.C.), University of Southern California; Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (M.W.W.), University of California, San Francisco.

Objective: To investigate the associations among β-amyloid (Aβ), cortical thickness, and episodic memory in a cohort of cognitively normal to mildly impaired individuals at increased risk of vascular disease.

Methods: In 67 subjects specifically recruited to span a continuum of cognitive function and vascular risk, we measured brain Aβ deposition using [(11)C] Pittsburgh compound B-PET imaging and cortical thickness using MRI. Episodic memory was tested using a standardized composite score of verbal memory, and vascular risk was quantified using the Framingham Coronary Risk Profile index.

Results: Increased Aβ was associated with cortical thinning, notably in frontoparietal regions. This relationship was strongest in persons with high Aβ deposition. Increased Aβ was also associated with lower episodic memory performance. Cortical thickness was found to mediate the relationship between Aβ and memory performance. While age had a marginal effect on these associations, the relationship between Aβ and cortical thickness was eliminated after controlling for vascular risk except when examined in only Pittsburgh compound B-positive subjects, in whom Aβ remained associated with thinner cortex in precuneus and occipital lobe. In addition, only the precuneus was found to mediate the relationship between Aβ and memory after controlling for vascular risk.

Conclusion: These results suggest strong links among Aβ, cortical thickness, and memory. They highlight that, in individuals without dementia, vascular risk also contributes to cortical thickness and influences the relationships among Aβ, cortical thickness, and memory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000000170DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945649PMC
March 2014

Emotional and behavioral symptoms in neurodegenerative disease: a model for studying the neural bases of psychopathology.

Annu Rev Clin Psychol 2014 15;10:581-606. Epub 2014 Jan 15.

Department of Psychology and Institute of Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720; email:

Disruptions in emotional, cognitive, and social behavior are common in neurodegenerative disease and in many forms of psychopathology. Because neurodegenerative diseases have patterns of brain atrophy that are much clearer than those of psychiatric disorders, they may provide a window into the neural bases of common emotional and behavioral symptoms. We discuss five common symptoms that occur in both neurodegenerative disease and psychopathology (i.e., anxiety, dysphoric mood, apathy, disinhibition, and euphoric mood) and their associated neural circuitry. We focus on two neurodegenerative diseases (i.e., Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia) that are common and well characterized in terms of emotion, cognition, and social behavior and in patterns of associated atrophy. Neurodegenerative diseases provide a powerful model system for studying the neural correlates of psychopathological symptoms; this is supported by evidence indicating convergence with psychiatric syndromes (e.g., symptoms of disinhibition associated with dysfunction in orbitofrontal cortex in both frontotemporal dementia and bipolar disorder). We conclude that neurodegenerative diseases can play an important role in future approaches to the assessment, prevention, and treatment of mental illness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032813-153653DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3980958PMC
November 2014

Emotion regulation predicts marital satisfaction: more than a wives' tale.

Emotion 2014 Feb 4;14(1):130-44. Epub 2013 Nov 4.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

Emotion regulation is generally thought to be a critical ingredient for successful interpersonal relationships. Ironically, few studies have investigated the link between how well spouses regulate emotion and how satisfied they are with their marriages. We utilized data from a 13-year, 3-wave longitudinal study of middle-aged (40-50 years old) and older (60-70 years old) long-term married couples, focusing on the associations between downregulation of negative emotion (measured during discussions of an area of marital conflict at Wave 1) and marital satisfaction (measured at all 3 waves). Downregulation of negative emotion was assessed by determining how quickly spouses reduced signs of negative emotion (in emotional experience, emotional behavior, and physiological arousal) after negative emotion events. Data were analyzed using actor-partner interdependence modeling. Findings showed that (a) greater downregulation of wives' negative experience and behavior predicted greater marital satisfaction for wives and husbands concurrently and (b) greater downregulation of wives' negative behavior predicted increases in wives' marital satisfaction longitudinally. Wives' use of constructive communication (measured between Waves 1 and 2) mediated the longitudinal associations. These results show the benefits of wives' downregulation of negative emotion during conflict for marital satisfaction and point to wives' constructive communication as a mediating pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0034272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4041870PMC
February 2014