Angela Spirou

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Ruth Propper

Committee Member

Ekaterina Dobryakova

Committee Member

Kenneth Sumner


Individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) have been shown to have high prevalence rates of depression. Reward processing and motivational deficits have been shown to be associated with depression, since both constructs rely on the ffonto-striatal network. In this study, we examined depressive symptomology, motivational tendencies and striatal activation during wins and losses in individuals with TBI. Participants (TBI and healthy controls [HC]) completed a gambling task composed of wins and losses in an MRI scanner. Depressive symptomology was assessed with the Chicago Multiscale Depression Inventory (CMDI), while motivational tendencies were assessed with the Behavioral Inhibition/Behavioral Activation (BIS/BAS) scale. Significant between-group differences were observed in BAS (p=.01), BASDrive (p = 0.003), BAS-Reward Responsiveness (p = 0.04) and in all CMDI subscales (Mood: p = .01; Evaluative: p = 0.02; Vegetative: p = .001), with significant correlations seen between both questionnaires. Using VBM analysis and the segmentation of subcortical structures, a significant GM decrease in both the right ACC and bilateral NAcc was seen in the TBI group. A positive correlation was found in the TBI group between the CMDI-Mood subscale and activation of the left NAcc during loss trials (r = -.858, p < 0.05), while a strong negative correlation in the TBI group was found between BIS and activation of the right NAcc during win trials (r = -.852, p < 0.05). When split between high and low BIS scores, the TBI group scoring higher on BIS showed significantly lower levels of NAcc activation during win trials (p < 0.05). No demographic between-group differences were detected. The current study replicates previous evidence in non-TBI individuals with depression, as well as provides pioneering evidence on the existence of the association between striatal engagement in depressive symptomology and motivation in individuals with TBI.

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