Kristen L. Eckstrand, M.D., Ph.D.

Fellow in Depression

Project Details

Mentors

Mary L. Phillips, M.D., Ph.D.  (Cantab)
Erika E. Forbes, Ph.D.


Institution

University of Pittsburgh


Project

Neural systems underlying parent response to orientation and mental health in sexual minority youth


Project Title

Neural systems underlying parent response to orientation and mental health in sexual minority youth

Project Summary

Depression and suicidality among sexual minority youth (SMY) are at crisis levels, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Critical knowledge gaps prevent adequate detection and treatment of depression/suicidality in SMY and addressing this crisis-level disparity requires rigorous research on the mechanisms of depression/suicidality in SMY. Parental response to sexual orientation (PR) is a consistent buffer against of depression/suicidality in SMY, perhaps through influence on self-related processing neural systems underlying healthy self development. In an SMY sample, this innovative cross-sectional study will explore the impact of PR on self-related processing neural systems, depression, and suicidality (Aim 1); the impact of self-related processing neural systems on depression/suicidality (Aim 2), and the extent to which self-related processing neural systems moderate PR-depression/suicidality relationships (Aim 3). Such research is necessary for to identifying novel targets for detection of, and development of interventions strengthening SMY self-identity to prevent, depression/suicidality in SMY.