Cortico-amygdalar connectivity and externalizing/internalizing behavior in children with neurodevelopmental disorders Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • Abstract Background Externalizing and internalizing behaviors contribute to clinical impairment in children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). Although associations between externalizing or internalizing behaviors and cortico-amygdalar connectivity have been found in clinical and non-clinical pediatric samples, no previous study has examined whether similar shared associations are present across children with different NDDs. Methods Multi-modal neuroimaging and behavioral data from the Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders (POND) Network were used. POND participants aged 6–18 years with a primary diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as typically developing children (TDC) with T1-weighted, resting-state fMRI or diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) and parent-report Child Behavioral Checklist (CBCL) data available, were analyzed (total n = 346). Associations between externalizing or internalizing behavior and cortico-amygdalar structural and functional connectivity indices were examined using linear regressions, controlling for age, gender, and image-modality specific covariates. Behavior-by-diagnosis interaction effects were also examined. Results No significant linear associations (or diagnosis-by-behavior interaction effects) were found between CBCL-measured externalizing or internalizing behaviors and any of the connectivity indices examined. Post-hoc bootstrapping analyses indicated stability and reliability of these null results. Conclusions The current study provides evidence towards an absence of a shared linear relationship between internalizing or externalizing behaviors and cortico-amygdalar connectivity properties across a transdiagnostic sample of children with different primary NDD diagnoses and TDC. Different methodological approaches, including incorporation of multi-dimensional behavioral data (e.g., task-based fMRI) or clustering approaches may be needed to clarify complex brain-behavior relationships relevant to externalizing/internalizing behaviors in heterogeneous clinical NDD populations.


  • Nakua, Hajer
  • Hawco, Colin
  • Forde, Natalie J
  • Jacobs, Grace R
  • Joseph, Michael
  • Voineskos, Aristotle N
  • Wheeler, Anne L
  • Lai, Meng-Chuan
  • Szatmari, Peter
  • Kelley, Elizabeth
  • Liu, Xudong
  • Georgiades, Stelios
  • Nicolson, Rob
  • Schachar, Russell
  • Crosbie, Jennifer
  • Anagnostou, Evdokia
  • Lerch, Jason P
  • Arnold, Paul D
  • Ameis, Stephanie H

publication date

  • July 2022