Objectives. Suicide is the second leading cause of adolescent deaths and may be linked to difficulties with inhibitory and emotional processing. This study assessed the neural correlates of cognitive inhibition during emotional processing in adolescents hospitalized for a suicidal crisis. Methods. Event-related potentials were recorded during an emotional Go/NoGo task in 12 adolescents who attempted suicide and 12 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Results. Compared to the control group, the suicidal group showed significantly reduced positivity at the time of the P3d (difference waveform reflecting NoGo minus Go trials) in response to happy and neutral, but not sad stimuli. For happy stimuli, this group difference was restricted to the right hemisphere. Further analyses indicated that the suicidal group had a reversed pattern of P3 amplitude in response to inhibition, with lower amplitudes in the NoGo compared to the Go conditions. Suicidal symptoms severity strongly correlated with lower amplitude of the P3d in response to neutral faces. Conclusions. These findings provide more insight into inhibition difficulties in adolescents with acute suicidal risk. Interactions between emotional and inhibition processing should be considered when treating acutely suicidal youths.
Investigator, CHEO Research Institute