Changes in cognitive distortions and affectivity levels in adolescent depression after acute phase fluoxetine treatment

Dejan Stevanovic*, Gil Zalsman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: It is supposed that both antidepressants and psychotherapies work in a manner consistent with cognitive theories of depression when changing negative affective and cognitive distortions. This study evaluated changes in cognitive distortions (i.e. systematic misinterpretations of new information) and affectivity in adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) after acute phase treatment with fluoxetine. Methods: Twenty-five adolescents (mean age 15.10 years (SD = 1.19); 17 (68%) females) with MDD receiving fluoxetine were followed for 8 weeks. Clinician rating scales of MDD and self-reports of cognitive distortions and affectivity were completed before and after the treatment. Results: Seven (28%) adolescents showed significant improvement in cognitive distortions, 11 (44%) showed a significant decrease in negative affect, and 15 (60%) showed a significant increase in positive affect. The responders to fluoxetine had significantly decreased level of negative affect (62.5%) and an increased level in positive affect (81.2%) compared to non-responders, whereas there were no differences between the two regarding changes in cognitive distortions. Conclusions: Treatment with fluoxetine over 8 weeks led to reductions in cognitive distortions, with decreased negative and increased positive affect in adolescents with MDD. Improvements in affectivity levels closely corresponded to reductions in depressive symptoms and were greater than improvements in cognitive distortions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-13
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2019


  • Adolescents
  • affect
  • antidepressants
  • cognition
  • depression


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