Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 567–577 | Cite as

Responses to Conflict and Cooperation in Adolescents with Anxiety and Mood Disorders

  • Erin B. McClureEmail author
  • Jessica M. Parrish
  • Eric E. Nelson
  • Joshua Easter
  • John F. Thorne
  • James K. Rilling
  • Monique Ernst
  • Daniel S. Pine
Original Paper


This study examined patterns of behavioral and emotional responses to conflict and cooperation in adolescents with anxiety/mood disorders and healthy peers. We compared performance on and emotional responses to the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) game, an economic exchange task involving conflict and cooperation, between adolescents with anxiety/depressive disorders (A/D) (N=21) and healthy comparisons (n = 29). Participants were deceived to believe their co-player (a pre-programmed computer algorithm) was another study participant. A/D adolescents differed significantly from comparisons in patterns of play and emotional response to the game. Specifically, A/D participants responded more cooperatively to cooperative overtures from their co-players; A/D girls also reported more anger toward co-players than did comparison girls. Our findings indicate that A/D adolescents, particularly females, respond distinctively to stressful social interchanges. These findings offer a first step toward elucidating the mechanisms underlying social impairment in youth with internalizing disorders.


Anxiety Depression Cooperation Conflict Interpersonal interaction Prisoner’s Dilemma 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin B. McClure
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jessica M. Parrish
    • 2
  • Eric E. Nelson
    • 2
  • Joshua Easter
    • 2
  • John F. Thorne
    • 2
  • James K. Rilling
    • 3
  • Monique Ernst
    • 2
  • Daniel S. Pine
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Emotional Development and Affective Neuroscience BranchMood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Anthropology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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