Relative left-frontal activity is associated with increased depression in high reassurance-seekers

Jennifer A. Minnix, John P. Kline, Ginette C. Blackhart, Jeremy W. Pettit, Marisol Perez, Thomas E. Joiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Excessive reassurance-seeking, which has been associated with depression in many studies, can be defined as the relatively stable tendency to seek assurance perseveratively from others. We hypothesized that although depression has been associated with left-frontal EEG hypoactivity, reassurance-seekers may possess a unique diathesis that is more likely to be associated with increased left-frontal activity. Data were collected from 12 volunteers who were receiving therapeutic services from a University Clinic. EEG asymmetry scores were averaged over two measurement occasions at least 3 weeks apart. As predicted, stable relative right-frontal activity was associated with increased depression in those who were low on reassurance-seeking, while stable relative left-frontal activity was associated with increased depression among high reassurance-seekers. Perhaps those who seek reassurance excessively do so because of their inability to alter their behavior even when environmental cues are no longer reinforcing, which can maintain or exacerbate their depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-155
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • EEG
  • Interpersonal style
  • Reassurance-seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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