This study examined differences between depressed and non- depressed adolescents (12 to 20 years), in decoding emotion intensity and perceived rejection and acceptance in both non- basic facial expressions and postures. The effect of the gender of the poser as well as the gender and the age of the participant were also of interest. Confirming earlier studies, girls decoded more anger than boys in non-basic facial expressions, but this gender difference was only found in the nondepressed group. Depressed boys decoded anger with the same high intensity as girls, and within girls no effect of depression was found. Contrary to expectations, female and male facial expressions were not decoded with different emotional intensity in general. Nevertheless, in decoding signs of rejection in the same facial expressions, the non-depressed group tended to decode more rejection in female faces, whereas the depressed group did not distinguish between male and female faces. An unexpected finding was that depressed adolescents also decoded more happiness in non-basic facial expressions than non- depressed adolescents. Also, and particularly in depressed boys, they decoded more acceptance in positive postural displays. In conclusion, depressed adolescents decode both more negative and more positive emotional and interpersonal meaning in subtle nonverbal cues, and these effects appear stronger for depressed boys than depressed girls. Implications of these findings will be discussed
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