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Research on Depression

Dr. Uma Rao, who has conducted research on mood disorders for over 20 years, leads the center’s work on depression. Her primary area of interest is adolescent depressive disorder during the developmental transition to adulthood. Three themes emerge from this research:

  1. Longitudinal clinical course of early-onset depression, and the impact of this disorder on adult emotional and social adjustment.
  2. Predictors of differential longitudinal course, including clinical, neurobiological psychosocial (e.g., self-efficacy, temperament, environmental stress and social support) processes.
  3. Developmental and ethnic influences on the phenomenology and neurobiological processes associated with mood disorders.

The long-term goals of her research program are to develop and test more specific and effective preventive and treatment interventions for early-onset mood disorders, and thereby assist at-risk youth to achieve their full potential as adults.

Mielock AS, Morris MC, Rao U (2017). Patterns of cortisol and alpha-amylase reactivity to psychosocial stress in maltreated women. Journal of Affective Disorders 209:46-52. PMID:27875756. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2016.11.009

Morris MC, Hellman N, Abelson JL, Rao U (2016). Cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure as early markers of PTSD risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review 49:79-91. PMID:27623149. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2016.09.001

Clauss JA, Benningfield MM, Rao U, Blackford JU (2016). Altered Prefrontal Cortex Function Marks Heightened Anxiety Risk in Children. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 55(9):809-16. PMCID: PMC5003319

Morris M, Walker L, Bruehl S, Sherman A, Mielock A, Rao U. (2016) Impaired conditioned pain modulation in youth with functional abdominal pain. The Journal of Pain 17(4):S34-5. PMID: 27389918

Morris, M.C., Evans, L.D., Rao, U., & Garber, J. (2015). Executive function moderates the relation between coping and depressive symptoms. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 28(1):31-49. doi: 10.1080/10615806.2014.925545

Rao, U. (2014). DSM-5: Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Special issue “DSM-5 Changes in Child Psychiatry”. Asian Journal of Psychiatry 11, 119-123 doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2014.03.002

Morris, M.C., Rao, U., Wang, L., Garber, J. (2014). Cortisol reactivity to experimentally-manipulated psychosocial stress in young adults at varied risk for depression. Depression and Anxiety, 31(1),44-52. PMCID: PMC3735776.

Morris, M.C., & Rao, U. (2014). Cortisol response to psychosocial stress during a depressive episode and remission. Stress, 17(1), 51-58. PMCID: PMC3920542.

Schramm, P.J., Poland, R.E., & Rao, U. (2014). Bupropion response on sleep quality in patients with depression: implications for increased cardiovascular disease risk. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 24(2), 207-214. PMCID: PMC3948318.

Morris, M.C., Kouros, C.D., Fox, K.R., Rao, U., & Garber, J. (2014). Interactive models of depression vulnerability: the role of childhood trauma, dysfunctional attitudes, and coping. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 53(2), 245-263. PMCID: PMC4016171.

Garber, J., Rao, U. (2014). Depression in children and adolescents. In M. Lewis & K. Rudolph K. (Eds.). Handbook of Developmental Psychopathology, 3rd edition (pp.489-520). New York: Springer.

Poland, R.E., Gertsik, L., Favreau, J.T., Smith, S.I., Mirocha, J.M., Rao, U., & Daar, E.S. (2013). Open-label, randomized, parallel-group controlled clinical trial of message for treatment of depression in HIV-infected patients. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(4), 334-340. PMCID: PMC3627430.

Rao, U. (2013). Biomarkers in pediatric depression. Depression and Anxiety, 30(9), 787-791. PMCID: PMC3789128.

Morris, M., & Rao, U. (2013). Unipolar Depression. In M.F. Murray, M.W. Babyatsky, M.A. Giovanni, F.S.Alkuraya, & D.R. Stewart (Eds.). Clinical Genomics: Practical Applications in Adult Patient Care (pp.667-674). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Rao, U., Poland, R.E., Lin, K-M. (2012). Comparison of symptoms in African-American, Asian-American, Mexican-American and Non-Hispanic White patients with major depressive disorder. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 5(1), 28-33. PMCID: PMC3375859.

Weir, J.M., Zakama, A., & Rao, U. (2012). Developmental Risk I: depression and the developing brain.Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 21(2), 237-259. PMCID: PMC3338920.

Shad, M.U., Muddasani, S., & Rao, U. (2012). Grey matter differences between healthy and depressed adolescents: a voxel-based morphometry study. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 22(3), 190-197. PMCID: PMC3373217.

Morris, M.C., Rao, U., & Garber, J. (2012). Cortisol responses to psychosocial stress predict depression trajectories: social-evaluative threat and prior depressive episodes as moderators. Journal of Affective Disorders, 143(1-3), 223-230. PMCID: PMC3489962.

Huang, H., Fan, X., Williamson, D.E., & Rao, U. (2011). White matter changes in healthy adolescents at familial risk for unipolar depression: a diffusion tensor imaging study. Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(3),684-691. PMCID: PMC3036948.

Kozel, F.A., Rao, U., Lu, H., Nakonezny, P., Grannemann, B., McGregor, T., Croarkin, P.E., Mapes, K.S., Tamminga, C., & Trivedi, M.H. (2011). Functional connectivity of brain structures correlates with treatment outcome in major depressive disorder. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2(7), 1-7. PMCID: PMC3089997.

Shad, M.U., Bidesi, A.S., Chen, L-A., Ernst, M., & Rao, U. (2011). Neurobiology of decision-making in depressed adolescents: an fMRI study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(6), 612-621. PMCID: PMC3105351.

Rao, U. (2011). Sleep disturbances in pediatric depression. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 4(4), 234-247. PMCID: PMC3265574.

Rao, U. (2010). Comorbidity between depressive and addictive disorders: role of stress and HPA activity. US Psychiatry, 3(1), 39-43. PMCID: PMC2903064.

Rao, U., Hammen, C.L., & Poland, R.E. (2010). Longitudinal course of adolescent depression: neuroendocrine and psychosocial predictors. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(2), 141-151. PMCID: PMC2907669.

Rao, U., Chen, L-A., Bidesi, A.S., Shad, M.U., Thomas, M.A., & Hammen, C.L. (2010). Hippocampal changes associated with early-life adversity and vulnerability to depression. Biological Psychiatry, 67(4), 357-364. PMCID: PMC2821020.

Moon, S.S., & Rao, U. (2010). Youth-family, youth-school relationship, and depression. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 27(2), 115-131. PMCID: PMC2863357.

Rao, U., & Chen, L-A. (2009). Characteristics, correlates, and outcomes of childhood and adolescent depressive disorders. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 11(1), 45-62. PMCID: PMC2766280.

Rao, U., Hammen, C.L., & Poland, R.E. (2009). Mechanisms underlying the comorbidity between depressive and addictive disorders in adolescents: interactions between stress and HPA activity. American Journal of Psychiatry, 166(3), 361-369. PMCID: PMC2770585.

Rao, U., Hammen, C.L., & Poland, R.E. (2009). Risk markers for depression in adolescents: sleep and HPA measures. Neuropsychopharmacology, 34(8), 1936-1945. PMCID: PMC2697268.

Schepis, T.S., & Rao, U. (2009). Adolescence: the emergence of alcohol use and depressive disorders. In L. Sher (Ed.). Comorbidity of Depression and Alcohol Use Disorders (pp. 79-100). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Rao, U., & Chen, L-A. (2009). Depression in children and adolescents. In B.T. Naylor (Ed.). Depression in Children (pp.89-127). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Wong, J.P., Stewart, S.M., Claasen, C., White, P.W., Rao, U., & Lam, T.H. (2008). Repeat suicide attempts in Hong Kong community adolescents. Social Science and Medicine, 66(2), 232-241. PMID: 17919796.

Rao, U., & Chen, L-A. (2008). Neurobiological and psychosocial processes associated with depressive and substance-related disorders in adolescents. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 1(1), 68-80. PMID: 19630707.

Rao, U., Hammen, C., Ortiz, L.R., Chen, L-A., & Poland, R.E. (2008). Effects of early and recent adverse experiences on adrenal response to psychosocial stress in depressed adolescents. Biological Psychiatry, 64(6), 521-526. PMCID: PMC2559463.

Rao, U., & Poland, R.E. (2008). EEG sleep and HPA changes from episode to recovery in depressed adolescents. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 18(6), 607-613. PMCID: PMC2672202.

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