The relationship between somatic and cognitive-affective depression symptoms and error-related ERPs

David A. Bridwell, Vaughn R. Steele, J. Michael Maurer, Kent A. Kiehl, Vince D. Calhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: The symptoms that contribute to the clinical diagnosis of depression likely emerge from, or are related to, underlying cognitive deficits. To understand this relationship further, we examined the relationship between self-reported somatic and cognitive-affective Beck's Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) symptoms and aspects of cognitive control reflected in error event-related potential (ERP) responses. Methods: Task and assessment data were analyzed within 51 individuals. The group contained a broad distribution of depressive symptoms, as assessed by BDI-II scores. ERPs were collected following error responses within a go/no-go task. Individual error ERP amplitudes were estimated by conducting group independent component analysis (ICA) on the electroencephalographic (EEG) time series and analyzing the individual reconstructed source epochs. Source error amplitudes were correlated with the subset of BDI-II scores representing somatic and cognitive-affective symptoms. Results: We demonstrate a negative relationship between somatic depression symptoms (i.e. fatigue or loss of energy) (after regressing out cognitive-affective scores, age and IQ) and the central-parietal ERP response that peaks at 359 ms. The peak amplitudes within this ERP response were not significantly related to cognitive-affective symptom severity (after regressing out the somatic symptom scores, age, and IQ). Limitations: These findings were obtained within a population of female adults from a maximum-security correctional facility. Thus, additional research is required to verify that they generalize to the broad population. Conclusions: These results suggest that individuals with greater somatic depression symptoms demonstrate a reduced awareness of behavioral errors, and help clarify the relationship between clinical measures of self-reported depression symptoms and cognitive control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Cognitive control
  • Cognitive-affective symptoms
  • Depression
  • Error ERPs
  • Go/no-go
  • Somatic symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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