Structural brain correlates of adolescent resilience

Burt, Keith B., Whelan, Robert, Conrod, Patricia J., Banaschewski, Tobias, Barker, Gareth J., Bokde, Arun L.W., Bromberg, Uli, Büchel, Christian, Fauth-Bühler, Mira, Flor, Herta, Galinowski, André, Gallinat, Juergen, Gowland, Penny, Heinz, Andreas, Ittermann, Bernd, Mann, Karl, Nees, Frauke, Papadopoulos-Orfanos, Dimitri, Paus, Tomas, Pausova, Zdenka, Poustka, Luise, Rietschel, Marcella, Robbins, Trevor W., Smolka, Michael N., Ströhle, Andreas, Schumann, Gunter and Garavan, Hugh (2016) Structural brain correlates of adolescent resilience. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57 (11). pp. 1287-1296. ISSN 1469-7610

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Despite calls for integration of neurobiological methods into research on youth resilience (high competence despite high adversity), we know little about structural brain correlates of resilient functioning. The aim of the current study was to test for brain regions uniquely associated with positive functioning in the context of adversity, using detailed phenotypic classification.


1,870 European adolescents (Mage = 14.56 years, SDage = 0.44 years, 51.5% female) underwent MRI scanning and completed behavioral and psychological measures of stressful life events, academic competence, social competence, rule-abiding conduct, personality, and alcohol use.


The interaction of competence and adversity identified two regions centered on the right middle and superior frontal gyri; grey matter volumes in these regions were larger in adolescents experiencing adversity who showed positive adaptation. Differences in these regions among competence/adversity subgroups were maintained after controlling for several covariates and were robust to alternative operationalization decisions for key constructs.


We demonstrate structural brain correlates of adolescent resilience, and suggest that right prefrontal structures are implicated in adaptive functioning for youth who have experienced adversity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Burt, K. B., Whelan, R., Conrod, P. J., Banaschewski, T., Barker, G. J., Bokde, A. L.W., Bromberg, U., Büchel, C., Fauth-Bühler, M., Flor, H., Galinowski, A., Gallinat, J., Gowland, P., Heinz, A., Ittermann, B., Mann, K., Nees, F., Papadopoulos-Orfanos, D., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Poustka, L., Rietschel, M., Robbins, T. W., Smolka, M. N., Ströhle, A., Schumann, G., Garavan, H. and the IMAGEN Consortium (2016), Structural brain correlates of adolescent resilience. J Child Psychol Psychiatr, 57: 1287–1296, which has been published in final form at]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Physics and Astronomy
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Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 09 May 2017 09:29
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 18:19

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