Enhancing Positive Emotions to Prevent Depression in Youth

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Enhancing Positive Emotions to Prevent Depression in Youth

Treatment for depression traditionally focuses on reducing negative emotions like sadness or anger and less on increasing positive emotions like contentment and happiness. In this talk, Dr. Kujawa will first review research informed by neuroscience that highlights difficulties with positive emotions as a key risk factor for the development of depression in youth. Next, Dr. Kujawa will describe new approaches to intervention that aim to increase positive emotions in children and emerging adults to reduce depression risk across time.

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Presented by 
Autumn Kujawa, Ph.D.
Autumn Kujawa, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Psychology and Human Development

Director of the Mood, Emotion, & Development Lab

Vanderbilt University

2018 Young Investigator Grant


Autumn Kujawa, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University and director of the Mood, Emotion, & Development Lab. She earned her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship in the neuroscience of mental health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Kujawa's research aims to reduce the burden of mood disorders on youth and families. In particular, she examines how children and adolescents process and respond to emotion, how alterations in emotional processing contribute to the development of mood disorders, and how this knowledge can be translated to improve interventions. Dr. Kujawa has been recognized as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, received an Early Career Award from the Society for Psychophysiological Research, and has been awarded research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation, and American Psychological Foundation.

Moderated by 
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

President and CEO


Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host and executive producer of the series. The program, broadcast nationwide, is available online, and focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Borenstein is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and serves as the Chair of the Section of Psychiatry at the Academy. He also has served as the President of the New York State Psychiatric Association. Dr. Borenstein earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard and his medical degree at New York University.