SPUR 2022: Emotion Regulation in Depression and the Aging Brain

Background

Using strategies to control emotions serves as a critical basis for effective social interactions and decision-making. Most of what we know about emotion regulation (ER) come from studies of young adults. However, we cannot assume what we know about younger adults apply to older adults, as there are differences in how the brain functions as we age. Data suggest that these age-related differences become particularly apparent among individuals with a long history of depression. In order to develop effective interventions for older adults, it is critical to study both the brain and behavioral bases of ER in the context of aging. We will study individuals with no history of depression symptoms, in addition to aging adults with lifetime history of depression that present with a range of current depression symptom severity (from mild to moderate). Because intact executive functioning (EF) is a critical component to successful ER, and because EF is known to decline with aging, we will also investigate EF skills and their brain bases as a variable that could impact ER.

Student Role

Student will participate in various aspects of recruitment, data collection, and preliminary analyses of data for this project Her specific roles include (but are not limited to):

  1. Screening of potential study participants for study eligibility via brief cognitive and medical screening and additional review of medical records, as necessary: Student will perform phone-screenings of interested prospective study participants by performing interviews via phone/zoom calls.
  2. Provide assistance with neuropsychological and behavioral assessment data collection with healthy, depressed, and cognitively impaired older adults: Student will function as a a critical part of the research team by helping set up, and run virtual and in-person neuropsychological and behavioral (some computerized) tests.
  3. Data entry and quality check of entered data with additional preliminary data processing and analyses duties, as needed: Student will serve a crucial role in initial and/or double entry of raw data into REDCap database with additionally assigned tasks to perform data management for further analyses by the research team.

Student Learning Outcomes & Benefits

Learning outcome 1: Learning how to effectively interact with healthy and depressed older adult population to screen for eligibility based on their healthy history and self-report.

Associated benefit: Student will learn the effective use of interview skills in the context of behavioral research.

Learning outcome 2: Learning how to administer neuropsychological tests and computerized behavioral tests in the context of aging research.

Associated benefit: Student will become familiarized with the basic principles of neuropsychological assessment and behavioral testing, and will be able to acquire the basic skills to administer the tests to research participants across the life span (especially in older adults).

Learning outcome 3: Learning how to manage and quality check various types of research data.

Associated benefit: Student will learn the specifics of using databases for entry and verification of collected data, and additionally learn to process entered data using appropriate software for further analyses.

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Joseph Kim
Assistant Professor

Psychiatry
School of Medicine

I believe in experiential learning and effective learning through assignment of clear roles, priorities, and goal-setting. As part of the mentoring experience, in the very beginning of the SPURS program, we will set clear timeline and goals complete with prioritizations. Student will also be encouraged to be present in as many aspect of the research process as possible. This means the student is welcome to be present in any research related meeting that I will be attending - assuming consent from other parties involved in said meetings.

In anticipation of Student's presentation at the OUR meeting, I will work directly with the student to help them practice their presentation skills with other research lab members present as "practice" audience.

Furthermore, Student will participate in weekly lab meetings and a separate one on one weekly supervision/mentorship meeting to help track progress and troubleshoot barriers to making progress toward their goals.