Publications by Year: In Press

In Press
Kasparek, S. W., Jenness, J. L., & McLaughlin, K. A. (In Press). Reward Processing Modulates the Association Between Trauma Exposure and Externalizing Psychopathology. Clinical Psychological Science , 2167702620933570. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Childhood adversity is common and strongly associated with risk for psychopathology. Identifying factors that buffer children from experiencing psychopathology following adversity is critical for developing more effective intervention approaches. In the present study, we examined several behavioral metrics of reward processing reflecting global approach motivation for reward and the degree to which reward responses scaled with reward value (i.e., behavioral sensitivity to reward value) as potential moderators of the association of multiple dimensions of adversity including trauma, caregiver neglect, and food insecurity with depression and externalizing psychopathology in a sample of youths ages 8 to 16 (n = 132). Trauma exposure and externalizing problems were positively associated at low and moderate levels of reward reactivity, but this association became nonsignificant at high levels of reward reactivity. Our findings extend prior work by demonstrating that high behavioral sensitivity to reward value may buffer against externalizing problems following exposure to trauma.
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Grisanzio, K. A., Sasse, S. F., Nook, E. C., Lambert, H. K., McLaughlin, K. A., & Somerville, L. H. (In Press). Voluntary pursuit of negatively valenced stimuli from childhood to early adulthood. Developmental Science. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Although common sense suggests that we are motivated to pursue positive and avoid negative experiences, previous research shows that people regularly seek out negative experiences. In the current study, we characterized this tendency from childhood to young adulthood. Due to the known increases in risky behavior and sensation seeking in adolescence, we hypothesized that adolescents would show an increased engagement with negatively valenced stimuli compared to children and adults. Participants aged 4–25 (N = 192) completed a behavioral task assessing motivation to engage with negative, positive, and neutral images. On each trial, participants viewed two small images and selected one to view at a larger size for up to 10s. Trials were organized into three valence conditions: negative versus positive images (matched on arousal), negative versus neutral images, and positive versus neutral images. Although participants chose positive images more than neutral or negative images, participants selected negative images frequently, even when given a positive (28% of trials) or neutral (42% of trials) alternative. Contrary to expectations, the tendency to choose negative images was highest in early childhood and decreased linearly with increasing age, and the tendency to choose positive images increased linearly with age. These results provide insight into how motivation to engage with emotional stimuli varies across age. It is possible that the novelty and rarity of negative experiences drives children to pursue these stimuli. Alternatively, children may find negative images less aversive, which would caution against assuming that these stimuli elicit the same motivational states in individuals of all ages.
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Colich, N. L., Rosen, M. L., Williams, E. S., & McLaughlin, K. A. (In Press). Biological aging in childhood and adolescence following experiences of threat and deprivation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin.Abstract
Life history theory argues that exposure to early life adversity (ELA) accelerates development, although existing evidence for this varies. We present a meta-analysis and systematic review testing the hypothesis that ELA involving threat (e.g., violence exposure) will be associated with accelerated biological aging across multiple metrics, whereas exposure to deprivation (e.g., neglect, institutional rearing) and low-socioeconomic status (SES) will not. We meta-analyze 54 studies (n = 116,010) examining associations of ELA with pubertal timing and cellular aging (telomere length and DNA methylation age), systematically review 25 studies (n = 3,253) examining ELA and neural markers of accelerated development (cortical thickness and amygdala-prefrontal cortex functional connectivity) and evaluate whether associations of ELA with biological aging vary according to the nature of adversity experienced. ELA overall was associated with accelerated pubertal timing (d = −0.10) and cellular aging (d = −0.21), but these associations varied by adversity type. Moderator analysis revealed that ELA characterized by threat was associated with accelerated pubertal development (d = −0.26) and accelerated cellular aging (d = −0.43), but deprivation and SES were unrelated to accelerated development. Systematic review revealed associations between ELA and accelerated cortical thinning, with threat-related ELA consistently associated with thinning in ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and deprivation and SES associated with thinning in frontoparietal, default, and visual networks. There was no consistent association of ELA with amygdala-PFC connectivity. These findings suggest specificity in the types of early environmental experiences associated with accelerated biological aging and highlight the importance of evaluating how accelerated aging contributes to health disparities and whether this process can be mitigated through early intervention. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
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Miller, A. B., Machlin, L., McLaughlin, K. A., & Sheridan, M. A. (In Press). Deprivation and psychopathology in the Fragile Families Study: A 15-year longitudinal investigation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Background Early adversity consistently predicts youth psychopathology. However, the pathways linking unique dimensions of early adversity, such as deprivation, to psychopathology are understudied. Here, we evaluate a theoretical model linking early deprivation exposure with psychopathology prospectively through language ability. Methods Participants included 2,301 youth (47.5% female) enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. We include data from assessment points at ages 1, 3, 5, 9, and 15. Latent factors for deprivation and threat were modeled from multiple indicators at ages 1 and 3. Youth language ability was assessed at Age 5. Indicators of psychopathology were assessed at ages 5, 9, and 15. A structural equation model tested longitudinal paths to internalizing and externalizing psychopathology from experiences of deprivation and threat. Results Deprivation from birth to Age 3 was associated with an indirect effect on internalizing and externalizing symptoms in early childhood (Age 5), later childhood (Age 9), and adolescence (Age 15) via language ability in early childhood (Age 5). Early threat exposure was associated with increased internalizing and externalizing psychopathology across all ages. There was no significant indirect effect from threat to psychopathology via language ability. Conclusions The effects of deprivation on psychopathology during early childhood, late childhood, and adolescence are explained, in part, through early childhood language ability. Results provide insight into language ability as a possible opportunity for intervention.
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Jenness, J. L., Peverill, M., Miller, A. B., Heleniak, C., Robertson, M. M., Sambrook, K. A., Sheridan, M. A., et al. (In Press). Alterations in neural circuits underlying emotion regulation following child maltreatment: a mechanism underlying trauma-related psychopathology. Psychological Medicine , 1–10.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Disruptions in neural circuits underlying emotion regulation (ER) may be a mechanism linking child maltreatment with psychopathology. We examined the associations of maltreatment with neural responses during passive viewing of negative emotional stimuli and attempts to modulate emotional responses. We investigated whether the influence of maltreatment on neural activation during ER differed across development and whether alterations in brain function mediated the association between maltreatment and a latent general psychopathology ('p') factor. METHODS: Youth aged 8-16 years with (n = 79) and without (n = 72) exposure to maltreatment completed an ER task assessing neural responses during passive viewing of negative and neutral images and effortful attempts to regulate emotional responses to negative stimuli. P-factor scores were defined by a bi-factor model encompassing internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. RESULTS: Maltreated youth had greater activation in left amygdala and salience processing regions and reduced activation in multiple regions involved in cognitive control (bilateral superior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex) when viewing negative v. neutral images than youth without maltreatment exposure. Reduced neural recruitment in cognitive control regions mediated the association of maltreatment with p-factor in whole-brain analysis. Maltreated youth exhibited increasing recruitment with age in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex during reappraisal while control participants exhibited decreasing recruitment with age. Findings were similar after adjusting for co-occurring neglect. CONCLUSIONS: Child maltreatment influences the development of regions associated with salience processing and cognitive control during ER in ways that contribute to psychopathology.
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Bustamante, C. M. V., Rodman, A. M., Dennison, M. J., Flournoy, J. C., Mair, P., & McLaughlin, K. A. (In Press). Within-person fluctuations in stressful life events, sleep, and anxiety and depression symptoms during adolescence: a multiwave prospective study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Background Adolescence is characterized by substantial changes in sleep behavior, heightened exposure to stressful life events (SLEs), and elevated risk for internalizing problems like anxiety and depression. Although SLEs are consistently associated with the onset of internalizing psychopathology, the mechanisms underlying this relationship remain poorly understood, especially at the within-person level. Here, we leverage a high-frequency longitudinal design to examine sleep as a potential mechanism linking SLEs to increases in anxiety and depression symptoms over a one-year period. Methods Thirty female adolescents aged 15–17 years completed 12 monthly in-laboratory assessments of exposure to SLEs and symptoms of anxiety and depression (n = 355 monthly assessments), and wore an actigraphy wristband for continuous monitoring of sleep for the duration of the study (n = 6,824 sleep days). Multilevel models examined concurrent and lagged within-person associations between SLEs, sleep duration and timing regularity, and anxiety and depression symptoms. Results Within-person fluctuations in SLEs were associated with variability in sleep duration both concurrently and prospectively, such that when adolescents experienced greater SLEs than was typical for them, they exhibited more variable sleep duration that same month as well as the following month. In turn, within-person increases in sleep duration variability predicted greater anxiety symptoms in the same month and mediated the association between SLEs and anxiety. Conclusions These findings highlight sleep disruptions as a mechanism underlying the longitudinal associations between SLEs and anxiety symptoms, and suggest that interventions promoting sleep schedule consistency may help mitigate risk for stress-related psychopathology in adolescence.
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Dennis, E. L., Disner, S. G., Fani, N., Salminen, L. E., Logue, M., Clarke, E. K., Haswell, C. C., et al. (In Press). Altered white matter microstructural organization in posttraumatic stress disorder across 3047 adults: results from the PGC-ENIGMA PTSD consortium. Molecular Psychiatry , 1–16. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A growing number of studies have examined alterations in white matter organization in people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using diffusion MRI (dMRI), but the results have been mixed which may be partially due to relatively small sample sizes among studies. Altered structural connectivity may be both a neurobiological vulnerability for, and a result of, PTSD. In an effort to find reliable effects, we present a multi-cohort analysis of dMRI metrics across 3047 individuals from 28 cohorts currently participating in the PGC-ENIGMA PTSD working group (a joint partnership between the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and the Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis consortium). Comparing regional white matter metrics across the full brain in 1426 individuals with PTSD and 1621 controls (2174 males/873 females) between ages 18–83, 92% of whom were trauma-exposed, we report associations between PTSD and disrupted white matter organization measured by lower fractional anisotropy (FA) in the tapetum region of the corpus callosum (Cohen’s d = −0.11, p = 0.0055). The tapetum connects the left and right hippocampus, for which structure and function have been consistently implicated in PTSD. Results were consistent even after accounting for the effects of multiple potentially confounding variables: childhood trauma exposure, comorbid depression, history of traumatic brain injury, current alcohol abuse or dependence, and current use of psychotropic medications. Our results show that PTSD may be associated with alterations in the broader hippocampal network.
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Weissman, D., Nook, E. C., Dews, A. A., Miller, A. B., Lambert, H., Sasse, S. F., Somerville, L., et al. (In Press). Low Emotional Awareness as a Transdiagnostic Mechanism Underlying Psychopathology in Adolescence . PsyArXiv. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The ability to identify and label one’s emotions is associated with effective emotion regulation, rendering emotional awareness important for mental health. We evaluated how emotional awareness was related to psychopathology and whether low emotional awareness was a transdiagnostic mechanism explaining the increase in psychopathology during the transition to adolescence and as a function of childhood trauma—specifically, violence exposure. In Study 1, children and adolescents (N = 120, age range = 7–19 years) reported on emotional awareness and psychopathology. Emotional awareness was negatively associated with psychopathology (p-factor) and worsened across age in females but not males. In Study 2 (N = 262, age range = 8–16 years), we replicated these findings and demonstrated longitudinally that low emotional awareness mediated increases in p-factor as a function of age in females and violence exposure. These findings indicate that low emotional awareness may be a transdiagnostic mechanism linking adolescent development, sex, and trauma with the emergence of psychopathology.
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Weissman, D. G., Jenness, J. L., Colich, N. L., Miller, A. B., Sambrook, K. A., Sheridan, M. A., & McLaughlin, K. A. (In Press). Altered Neural Processing of Threat-Related Information in Children and Adolescents Exposed to Violence: A Transdiagnostic Mechanism Contributing to the Emergence of Psychopathology. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry , S0890856719319288. Publisher's VersionAbstract
{OBJECTIVE: Exposure to violence in childhood is associated with increased risk for multiple forms of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. We evaluated how exposure to violence in early life influences neural responses to neutral and threat-related stimuli in childhood and adolescence, developmental variation in these associations, and whether these neural response patterns convey transdiagnostic risk for psychopathology over time. METHOD: Participants were 149 youth (75 female youth), ages 8 to 17 (M =12.8
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