Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Dr. Marie Banich

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Saddoris

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Dike

Fourth Advisor

Harry Smolker


This study aims to incorporate the Tripartite Model of Anxiety and Depression dimensions, proposed by Watson and Clark (1991) and administered with the Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire (MASQ), into continuous measures which can then be correlated with brain structure patterns in adolescents. During adolescence, the brain undergoes massive change, change which results in radical new ways of processing emotion and decision-making, and implicated in the onset of anxiety and depression. Through this methodology, we investigate the Dual Systems Model of adolescent development which suggests that two separate systems, the socioemotional system and the cognitive control system, develop either at different rates or at different times and that these differing rates are implicated in anxiety and depression development as well. Anatomical measures of mostly sensory processing regions correlated with anxious arousal and negative affect, supporting the overlap of those two dimensions and implicating sensory processing in anxiety. Anatomical measures of mostly cognitive processing regions in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) linked to learning, memory, and self-awareness correlated with positive affect. This finding supports the importance of PFC maturity in the modulation of and experience of emotional information. We speculate that positive affect is high during early adolescence, decreases in middle adolescence, then stabilizes or increases again as cognitive processing regions come online.