Adolescence is the peak period of onset for major depressive disorder, and it has a significant impact on youth development. Notably, it is associated with short- and long-term negative consequences, and therefore, research is needed to improve early identification, prevention, and treatment.
Presently, the aims of our youth-focused research program include:
- Identifying risk factors (e.g., psychological, behavioral, genetic, and neurobiological) that contribute to the onset and maintenance of depressive symptoms
- Understanding mechanisms that change in the brain in the context of psychotherapy (e.g., cognitive behavior therapy)
- Delineating mechanisms that increase the likelihood of self-injury and suicide.
Our ultimate goal is to develop more effective prevention and intervention programs for youth in need. The Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders Laboratory, established in 2010, is part of McLean's Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research (CDASR). The goal of the CDASR is to identify the biological, environmental, and psychological factors that contribute to depression and anxiety and translate those findings into new treatments.