Psychosocial stress and brain function in adolescent psychopathology

Quinlan, Erin Burke, Cattrell, Anna, Jia, Tianye, Artiges, Eric, Banaschewski, Tobias, Barker, Gareth, Bokde, Arun L.W., Bromberg, Uli, Büchel, Christian, Brühl, Rüdiger, Conrod, Patricia J., Desrivières, Sylvane, Flor, Herta, Frouin, Vincent, Gallinat, Jürgen, Garavan, Hugh, Gowland, Penny A., Heinz, Andreas, Nees, Frauke, Paillère-Martinot, Marie-Laure, Papadopoulos-Orfanos, Dimitri, Paus, Tomáš, Poustka, Luise, Smolka, Michael N., Vetter, Nora C., Walter, Henrik, Whelan, Robert, Buitelaar, Jan K., Happé, Francesca, Loth, Eva, Barker, Edward D. and Schumann, Gunter (2017) Psychosocial stress and brain function in adolescent psychopathology. American Journal of Psychiatry, 174 (8). pp. 785-794. ISSN 1535-7228

Full text not available from this repository.


Objective: To explore how conduct, hyperactivity/inattention, and emotional symptoms are associated with neural reactivity to social-emotional stimuli, and the extent to which psychosocial stress modulates these relationships.

Method: Participants were community adolescents recruited as part of the European IMAGEN study. Bilateral amygdala regions of interest were used to assess the relationship between the three symptom domains with fMRI neural reactivity during passive viewing of dynamic angry and neutral facial expressions. Exploratory functional connectivity and whole-brain multiple regression approaches were used to analyze how the symptoms and psychosocial stress relate to other brain regions.

Results: In response to the social-emotional stimuli, adolescents with high levels of conduct or hyperactivity/inattention symptoms showed hyperactivity of the amygdala, and several regions across the brain, when they experienced a greater number of stressful life events. This effect was not observed with emotional symptoms. A cluster in the mid-cingulate was found to be common to both conduct problems and hyperactivity symptoms. Exploratory functional connectivity analyses suggested amygdala-precuneus connectivity is associated with hyperactivity/inattention symptoms.

Conclusions: The results link hyperactive amygdala responses, and regions critical for top-down emotional processing, with high levels of psychosocial stress in individuals with greater conduct and hyperactivity/inattention symptoms. This work highlights the importance of studying how psychosocial stress impacts functional brain responses to social-emotional stimuli, particularly in adolescents with externalizing symptoms.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The official published article is available online at
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Physics and Astronomy
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 10:33
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 18:58

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View