A Family Focused Intervention Influences Hippocampal-Prefrontal Connectivity Through Gains in Self-Regulation
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The stressors associated with poverty increase the risks for externalizing psychopathology; however, specific patterns of neurobiology and higher self-regulation may buffer against these effects. This study leveraged a randomized control trial, aimed at increasing self-regulation at ~11 years of age. As adults, these same individuals completed functional MRI scanning (Mage = 24.88 years; intervention n = 44; control n = 49). Functional connectivity between the hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex was examined in relation to the intervention, gains in self-regulation, and present-day externalizing symptoms. Increased connectivity between these brain areas was noted in the intervention group compared to controls. Furthermore, individual gains in self-regulation, instilled by the intervention, statistically explained this brain difference. These results begin to connect neurobiological and psychosocial markers of risk and resiliency.
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