Depressive symptoms and baseline prefrontal EEG alpha activity: a study utilizing Ecological Momentary Assessment.

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Publication Date: 
Feb 01, 2008

Prefrontal cortex (PFC) electroencephalography (EEG) alpha asymmetry has been found in individuals with major depression. However, EEG activity has never been examined in regard to specific depressive symptoms. We examine the relationship between resting baseline PFC alpha activity and both rumination and self-esteem in a depressed outpatient group (N=6) and a healthy control group (N=7) using high-density EEG sampling and multiple longitudinal self report measures, i.e. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA). Symptom measures were collected five times daily for 7 days, i.e. 35 assessments. Using a mixed-level analysis, significant Group x Hemisphere interactions for PFC sites and both rumination and self-esteem were found. Within the depressed group, lower bilateral PFC activity predicted higher levels of rumination, and lower right PFC activity predicted higher levels of self-esteem. There were no significant effects for the control group. Results indicate that specific symptoms of depression are uniquely associated with patterns of PFC EEG alpha activity.