Associations between cortical thickness and anxious/depressive symptoms differ by the quality of early care
Development and Psychopathology
A variety of childhood experiences can lead to anxious/depressed (A/D) symptoms. The aim of the present study was to explore the brain morphological (cortical thickness and surface area) correlates of A/D symptoms and the extent to which these phenotypes vary depending on the quality of the parenting context in which children develop. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were acquired on 45 children with Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement due to risk of not receiving adequate care (high-risk group) and 25 children without CPS involvement (low-risk group) (rangeage = 8.08–12.14; M age = 10.05) to assess cortical thickness (CT) and cortical surface area (SA). A/D symptoms were measured using the Child Behavioral Checklist. The association between A/D symptoms and CT, but not SA, differed by risk status such that high-risk children showed decreasing CT as A/D scores increased, whereas low-risk children showed increasing CT as A/D scores increased. This interaction was specific to CT in prefrontal, frontal, temporal, and parietal cortical regions. The groups had marginally different A/D scores, in the direction of higher risk being associated with lower A/D scores. Results suggest that CT correlates of A/D symptoms are differentially shaped by the quality of early caregiving experiences and should be distinguished between high- and low-risk children.
This article was originally published in Development and Psychopathology. The version of record is available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579421000845
anxious/depressive symptoms, caregiving quality, cortical thickness, early adversity, pial surface area
Korom, M., Tottenham, N., Valadez, E., & Dozier, M. (2021). Associations between cortical thickness and anxious/depressive symptoms differ by the quality of early care. Development and Psychopathology, 1-12. doi:10.1017/S0954579421000845