Current research conducted by one of the scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas reveals that teenagers can be subjected to psychological threats such as depression and anxiety in their early years.

Details About The Research

On the 26th of October, 2021, a research paper published in JAMA Psychiatry stated that certain psychological risk factors can be determined from an adolescent’s frame of mind. The study also provides one with the tool to determine if the child is likely to become a victim of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression in their youth or during adulthood. 

The research was implemented on a batch of 165 people, which included infants of age four months to 26-year-old adults. It was carried out by the assistant professor of psychology at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Dr. Alva Tang, between the years 1989 and 1993. 

According to him, children who exhibit inhibition and lack the typical characteristics of a teenager will presumably slip into depression rather than anxiety during their adulthood.  

Dr. Tang’s Statements

Before working at the University of Texas, Dallas, Dr. Alva Tang carried out his research at the University of Maryland, College Park. She said, “The findings highlight different mechanisms in the brain and relate them to who is at greater risk for developing different mental health issues.” She added, “These results could inform the development of prevention-oriented treatments tailored to the individual.”

Tang laid out her observations, saying, “We know that inhibited children are more likely to have anxiety disorders later, particularly social anxiety, that begins in late childhood to adolescence.”

She added, “Less has been known about depression, which generally has a later onset, in young adulthood. But we do know that people who have had an anxiety disorder are 50% to 60% more likely to have depression later in life, so inhibited children should have higher risk for depression as well.”

According to her, “To show any relation with increases in depressive symptoms over time, we have to follow subjects for decades because full-blown syndromes usually do not emerge until young adulthood.” 

“We looked at the ventral striatum, a brain region well studied in terms of understanding depression in adults, to see if it’s tied to maladaptive processing in the reward centers of the brain.” Dr. Tang stated. 

Tang also said, “We found that behavioral inhibition was related to worsening depressive symptoms into adulthood. This supports the assertion that this temperament shows a stronger relation to developing anxiety in adolescence, but in adulthood, it is tied more strongly to depression.

However, not all inhibited children develop anxiety or depression.” She added, “It was particularly the inhibited children who showed blunted striatal activity who were more likely to become more depressed in young adulthood.”

Also Read: Kapil Dev Dismisses American Terms Like Depression Amidst Backlash

How Is This Study Unique?

The research conducted by Professor Alva Tang is quite exclusive because of its detailed behavioral study of the subjects’ psychological imbalances and the prolonged period over which the research was conducted.

“This study is new because it can separate different kinds of brain correlates for these different conditions,” Tang said.

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