Dr. Leanne Quigley, an assistant professor in the clinical psychology PsyD program in the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, received a grant of $409,276 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study cognitive control and vulnerability to major depression as part of a four-person team.
“The study,” said Dr. Quigley, “titled ‘Improving Understanding of Cognitive Risk Factors for the Recurrence of Depression,’ aims to evaluate whether previously depressed people show impairments in cognitive control over emotional information when in a state of stress compared to when not in a state of stress and from this evaluate whether these stress-induced impairments in cognitive control can predict relapse to depression among previously depressed people.”
The study can have several beneficial outcomes. “First,” she explained, “there is the the potential to identify a novel cognitive risk factor for the recurrence of depression.” Once these risk factors are defined, that knowledge “will help professionals identify people who are most at risk of repeated episodes of depression and develop targeted treatment approaches to reduce this risk.”
The grant will allow Dr. Quigley to pursue her research interests on the interplay between cognitive and emotional factors in the etiology and treatment of emotional disorders, particularly depression. She has studied biases in cognitive processes, such as executive functioning and attention, in depressed and remitted depressed populations. Some of her other projects have focused on emotion regulation and avoidance in depression, psychometric evaluation of measures of cognitive vulnerability factors, and cognitive mediation of treatment response in cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression.