This study examined patterns of behavioral and emotional responses to conflict and cooperation in adolescents with anxiety/mood disorders and healthy peers. We compared performance on and emotional responses to the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) game, an economic exchange task involving conflict and cooperation, between adolescents with anxiety/depressive disorders (A/D) (N=21) and healthy comparisons (n=29). Participants were deceived to believe their co-player (a pre-programmed computer algorithm) was another study participant. A/D adolescents differed significantly from comparisons in patterns of play and emotional response to the game. Specifically, A/D participants responded more cooperatively to cooperative overtures from their co-players; A/D girls also reported more anger toward co-players than did comparison girls. Our findings indicate that A/D adolescents, particularly females, respond distinctively to stressful social interchanges. These findings offer a first step toward elucidating the mechanisms underlying social impairment in youth with internalizing disorders.
McClure, Erin B.; Parrish, Jessica M.; Nelson, Eric E.; Easter, Joshua; Thorne, John F.; Rilling, James K.; Ernst, Monique; and Pine, Daniel S., "Responses to Conflict and Cooperation in Adolescents with Anxiety and Mood Disorders" (2007). Psychology Faculty Publications. 121.
McClure, E.B., Parrish, J.M., Nelson, E.E., Easter, J., Thorne, J.F., Rilling, J.K., Ernst, M. & Pine, D.S. (2007). Responses to conflict and cooperation in adolescents with anxiety and mood disorders. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35, 567-577. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-007-9113-8