• Latent Trajectories of Executive Function Development: Associations with Cognitive Vulnerability to Major Depression

      Alloy, Lauren B.; Olino, Thomas; Drabick, Deborah A.; Giovannetti, Tania; Heimberg, Richard G.; Chein, Jason M. (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      The maturation and consolidation of executive functions, including cognitive flexibility, attentional control, goal-setting, and information processing, continues throughout adolescence. Cognitive vulnerabilities to depression, such as rumination on negative affect, negative cognitive style, and hopelessness, also emerge as stable risk-factors for depression during this time. Emerging evidence suggests these vulnerabilities may be associated with alterations in executive functioning, and with cognitive maturation. The current study explores the association between trajectories of executive development and cognitive vulnerabilities to depression using a person-centered characterization of latent classes of growth trajectories. Classes of adolescent cognitive development in working memory, selective attention, sustained attention, switching, and divided attention, were derived, and class associations with cognitive vulnerabilities were probed. The results showed that most executive domains have a normative majority with typical growth and low levels of cognitive vulnerability. Minority classes, representing atypical growth, were differentially related to cognitive vulnerability. Contrary to hypotheses, better cognitive development was generally associated with higher levels of cognitive vulnerability, specifically internal, stable, and self-worth dimensions of negative cognitive style. Several exceptions included classes whose trajectory suggested developmental regression; consistent with hypotheses, these classes also demonstrated higher levels of negative cognitive style. Results support a model in which cognitive development scaffolds the maturation of negative cognitive style.