While most measures of working memory (WM) performance have been shown to plateau by mid-adolescence and developmental changes in fronto-parietal regions supporting WM encoding and maintenance have been well characterized, little is known about developmental variation in WM filtering. We investigated the possibility that the neural underpinnings of filtering in WM reach maturity later in life than WM function without filtering. Using a cued WM filtering task (McNab and Klingberg, 2008), we investigated neural activity during WM filtering in a sample of 64 adults and adolescents. Regardless of age, increases in WM activity with load were concentrated in the expected fronto-parietal network. For adults, but not adolescents, recruitment of the basal ganglia during presentation of a filtering cue was associated with neural and behavioral indices of successful filtering, suggesting that WM filtering and related basal ganglia function may still be maturing throughout adolescence and into adulthood.
Disruptions in emotion regulation are a transdiagnostic risk factor for psychopathology. However, scant research has examined whether emotion regulation strategies are related to the onset of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among youths exposed to trauma. We investigated whether pretrauma emotion regulation strategies prospectively predicted PTSD symptom onset after the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist attack among adolescents and whether these associations were moderated by the degree of exposure to media coverage of the attack. A sample of 78 Boston-area adolescents (mean age = 16.72 years, 65% female) who previously participated in studies assessing emotion regulation and psychopathology were recruited following the terrorist attack. Within 4 weeks of the attack, we assessed self-reported PTSD symptoms and attack-related media exposure via an online survey. We examined the association of pretrauma emotion regulation strategies with PTSD symptom onset after adjustment for pretrauma internalizing symptoms and violence exposure. Greater pretrauma engagement in rumination predicted onset of PTSD symptoms following the attack. Adolescents who engaged in catastrophizing also had greater PTSD symptoms postattack, but only when exposed to high levels of media coverage of the attacks; the same pattern was observed for adolescents who engaged in low levels of cognitive reappraisal. Engagement in specific emotion regulation strategies prior to a traumatic event predicts the onset of PTSD symptoms among youths exposed to trauma, extending transdiagnostic models of emotion regulation to encompass trauma-related psychopathology in children and adolescents.