Parenting and Salience Network Connectivity Among African Americans: A Protective Pathway for Health-Risk Behaviors Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: Supportive parenting during childhood has been associated with many positive developmental outcomes for offspring in adulthood, including fewer health-risk behaviors. Little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying these associations. METHODS: The present study followed rural African Americans (n = 91, 52% female) from late childhood (11-13 years of age) to emerging adulthood (25 years of age). Parent-child communication was assessed at 11, 12, and 13 years of age. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used at 25 years of age to measure resting-state functional connectivity of the anterior salience network (ASN). Harmful alcohol use and emotional eating were also assessed at 25 years of age. Structural equation modeling was used to test pathways from parent-child communication at 11 to 13 years of age to harmful alcohol use and emotional eating at 25 years of age via resting-state functional connectivity of the ASN. RESULTS: Greater parent-child communication between 11 and 13 years of age forecast greater resting-state functional connectivity of the ASN at 25 years of age which, in turn, was associated with lower harmful alcohol use and emotional eating at 25 years of age. Significant indirect effects through the ASN were present for both outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate the importance of parenting in late childhood for adaptive behaviors and suggest a pathway via higher ASN coherence. This network was implicated in both harmful alcohol use and emotional eating, corroborating evidence of overlap in brain regions for dysregulated substance use and eating behaviors and revealing divergent pathways. These findings support the value of prevention and intervention efforts targeting parenting skills in childhood toward fostering long-term, adaptive neurocognitive development.

authors

  • Holmes, Christopher J
  • Barton, Allen W
  • MacKillop, James
  • Galván, Adriana
  • Owens, Max M
  • McCormick, Michael J
  • Yu, Tianyi
  • Beach, Steven RH
  • Brody, Gene H
  • Sweet, Lawrence H

publication date

  • September 2018

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