Neural Correlates of Emotion Regulation and Adolescent Suicidal Ideation


Miller, A. B., McLaughlin, K. A., Busso, D. S., Brueck, S., Peverill, M., & Sheridan, M. A. (2018). Neural Correlates of Emotion Regulation and Adolescent Suicidal Ideation. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging , 3 (2), 125–132.

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Background Research on the neural correlates associated with risk for suicidal ideation (SI) has been limited, particularly in one increasingly at-risk group—adolescents. Previous research with adolescents indicates that poor emotion regulation skills are linked with SI, but these studies have not previously examined neural activation in service of emotion regulation between those with and without SI histories. Methods Here we examine whether SI is associated with neural responses during an emotion regulation functional magnetic resonance imaging task in a group of adolescents (N = 49) 13 to 20 years of age (mean = 16.95). Results While there were no differences between youths with and without SI in self-reported emotional responses to negative pictures, youths with SI activated the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex more than youths without SI on trials in which they attempted to regulate their emotional responses compared with trials in which they passively viewed negative pictures. In contrast, during passive viewing of negative stimuli, youths with SI activated the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, temporoparietal junction, and cerebellum less than same-age control subjects. Conclusions These findings were robust to control subjects for depression and adversity exposure and are consistent with the idea that youths with SI have disrupted emotion regulation, potentially related to differences in recruitment of top-down control regions. In contrast, youths without SI activated regions implicated in emotion regulation even when not directed to effortfully control their emotional response. This is the first study to examine neural function during emotion regulation as a potential neural correlate of risk for SI in adolescents.

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Last updated on 09/06/2018