Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Annemiek Bergman (Donders series 515)

16 September 2021

Promotors:Prof. dr. A.H. Schene, Prof. dr. C.Th.W.M. Vissers
Copromotors: Dr. J.N. Vrijsen

Negative attentional bias as a transdiagnostic psychiatric marker

The majority of individuals with depression also have a concomitant diagnosis (comorbidity) of, for instance, an anxiety disorder, ADHD and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This high comorbidity may indicate overlapping underlying cognitive mechanisms. One such possible vulnerability factor can be negative attentional bias: individuals with depression have a stronger preference for negative than neutral or positive information. This dissertation investigated whether attentional bias can also occur in patients with other disorders besides depression. Results demonstrated the presence of negative attentional bias in depression, but not for ASD. Moreover, no evidence was found for symptoms of ASD, depression and anxiety sensitivity. However, evidence has been found that there is an association of symptoms of ADHD and negative attentional bias in individuals with depression and/or anxiety disorder(s). This suggests, that negative attentional bias is potentially only a cognitive marker of depression.