Positive Emotion Specificity and Mood Symptoms in an Adolescent Outpatient Sample

June Gruber, Anna Van Meter, Kirsten E. Gilbert, Eric A. Youngstrom, Jennifer Kogos Youngstrom, Norah C. Feeny, Robert L. Findling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Research on positive emotion disturbance has gained increasing attention, yet it is not clear which specific positive emotions are affected by mood symptoms, particularly during the critical period of adolescence. This is especially pertinent for identifying potential endophenotypic markers associated with mood disorder onset and course. The present study examined self-reported discrete positive and negative emotions in association with clinician-rated manic and depressive mood symptoms in a clinically and demographically diverse group of 401 outpatient adolescents between 11 and 18 years of age. Results indicated that higher self reported joy and contempt were associated with increased symptoms of mania, after controlling for symptoms of depression. Low levels of joy and high sadness uniquely predicted symptoms of depression, after controlling for symptoms of mania. Results were independent of age, ethnicity, gender and bipolar diagnosis. These findings extend work on specific emotions implicated in mood pathology in adulthood, and provide insights into associations between emotions associated with goal driven behavior with manic and depressive mood symptom severity in adolescence. In particular, joy was the only emotion associated with both depressive and manic symptoms across adolescent psychopathology, highlighting the importance of understanding positive emotion disturbance during adolescent development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-405
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Mania
  • Positive emotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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