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Gender Differences in Facial Emotion Recognition Among Adolescents Depression with Non-Suicidal Self-Injury.

OBJECTIVE: Despite the perception that healthy female are superior at emotional identification, it remains unclear whether gender-specific differences exist in adolescent depression and whether such specific differences in emotional recognition are associated with the most salient feature of adolescent depression---non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI).

METHODS: In this study, 1428 adolescents (1136 females and 292 males) with depression and NSSI were examined using the Facial Emotion Recognition Task, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), and Functional Assessment of Self-mutilation questionnaire (FASM). This study was grouped by gender. Data were analyzed using the descriptive statistics, independent sample t -test, chi-square test, non-parametric test (Mann-Whitney U -test), Spearman correlation and Multiple linear regression analysis.

RESULTS: Depressed females reported a significantly greater frequency of self-injurious behaviour and more severe depressive symptoms than males. Face emotion recognition was also significantly more accurate in females and was positively correlated with levels of self-injury and depression, whereas no such correlations were found in males. Among depressed adolescents, face emotion recognition is better in females and is associated with self-injurious behaviour.

CONCLUSION: This study found that the greater susceptibility to depression and NSSI among adolescent females may stem in part from superior recognition and sensitivity to the negative emotions of others.

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