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Sex‐differentiated associations among negative parenting, emotion‐related brain function, and adolescent substance use and psychopathology symptoms

  • Author(s): Tara M. Chaplin, Jennifer A. Poon, James C. Thompson, Amysue Hansen, Sarah L. Dziura, Caitlin C. Turpyn, Claire E. Niehaus, Rajita Sinha, Laurie Chassin, Emily B. Ansell
  • Published 08 Feb 2019
  • DOI: 10.1111/sode.12364

Abstract Parenting is a critical factor in adolescent social–emotional development, with maladaptive parenting leading to risk for the development of psychopathology. However, the emotion‐related brain mechanisms underlying the influence of parenting on psychopathology symptoms are unknown. The present study utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging and laboratory measures to examine sex‐differentiated associations among parenting, adolescent emotion‐related brain function, and substance use and psychopathology symptoms in 66 12–14‐year olds. Maternal parenting behaviors (warmth, negative parenting) were observed in a laboratory task. Adolescent brain responses to negative emotional stimuli were assessed in emotion processing regions of interest (left [L] and right [R] amygdala, anterior insula, and anterior cingulate cortex [ACC]). Adolescents reported on substance use and depressive, anxiety, and externalizing symptoms. Maternal negative parenting predicted adolescent brain activation differently by sex. For girls, negative parenting predicted heightened R ACC activation to negative emotional stimuli. For boys, negative parenting predicted blunted L and R anterior insula and L ACC activation. Furthermore, for girls, but not boys, heightened L anterior insula and heightened L and R ACC activation were associated with substance use and depressive symptoms, respectively. Findings suggest neural response to negative emotion as a possible sex‐specific pathway from negative parenting to psychopathology.

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