Publications by Year: 2022

2022
Rodman, A., Rosen, M., Kasperek, S., Mayes, M., Lengua, L., Meltzoff, A., & McLaughlin, K. (2022). Social experiences and youth psychopathology during the COVID-19 pandemic: A longitudinal studySocial behavior and youth psychopathology during the COVID-19 dyongitudinal study. Development and Psychopathology , 1-13. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated stay-at-home orders resulted in a stark reduction in daily social interactions for children and adolescents. Given that peer relationships are especially important during this developmental stage, it is crucial to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social behavior and risk for psychopathology in children and adolescents. In a longitudinal sample (N=224) of children (7-10y) and adolescents (13-15y) assessed at three strategic time points (before the pandemic, during the initial stay-at-home order period, and six months later after the initial stay-at-home order period was lifted), we examine whether certain social factors protect against increases in stress-related psychopathology during the pandemic, controlling for pre-pandemic symptoms. Youth who reported less in-person and digital socialization, greater social isolation, and less social support had worsened psychopathology during the pandemic. Greater social isolation and decreased digital socialization during the pandemic were associated with greater risk for psychopathology after experiencing pandemic-related stressors. In addition, children, but not adolescents, who maintained some in-person socialization were less likely to develop internalizing symptoms following exposure to pandemic-related stressors. We identify social factors that promote well-being and resilience in youth during this societal event.

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Sun, D., ..,, McLaughlin, K., & et. al,. (2022). A comparison of methods to harmonize cortical thickness measurements across scanners and sites. NeuroImage , 261, 1 - 19. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Results of neuroimaging datasets aggregated from multiple sites may be biased by site-specific profiles in participants’ demographic and clinical characteristics, as well as MRI acquisition protocols and scanning platforms. We compared the impact of four different harmonization methods on results obtained from analyses of cortical thickness data: (1) linear mixed-effects model (LME) that models site-specific random intercepts (LMEINT), (2) LME that models both site-specific random intercepts and age-related random slopes (LMEINT+SLP), (3) ComBat, and (4) ComBat with a generalized additive model (ComBat-GAM). Our test case for comparing harmonization methods was cortical thickness data aggregated from 29 sites, which included 1,340 cases with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (6.2–81.8 years old) and 2,057 trauma-exposed controls without PTSD (6.3–85.2 years old). We found that, compared to the other data harmonization methods, data processed with ComBat-GAM was more sensitive to the detection of significant case-control differences (Χ2(3) = 63.704, p < 0.001) as well as case-control differences in age-related cortical thinning (Χ2(3) = 12.082, p = 0.007). Both ComBat and ComBat-GAM outperformed LME methods in detecting sex differences (Χ2(3) = 9.114, p = 0.028) in regional cortical thickness. ComBat-GAM also led to stronger estimates of age-related declines in cortical thickness (corrected p-values < 0.001), stronger estimates of case-related cortical thickness reduction (corrected p-values < 0.001), weaker estimates of age-related declines in cortical thickness in cases than controls (corrected p-values < 0.001), stronger estimates of cortical thickness reduction in females than males (corrected p-values < 0.001), and stronger estimates of cortical thickness reduction in females relative to males in cases than controls (corrected p-values < 0.001). Our results support the use of ComBat-GAM to minimize confounds and increase statistical power when harmonizing data with non-linear effects, and the use of either ComBat or ComBat-GAM for harmonizing data with linear effects.
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van Velzen, L., ..,, McLaughlin, K., & et. al,. (2022). Structural brain alterations associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young people: results from 21 international studies from the ENIGMA Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours consortium. Molecular Psychiatry , 27, 4550–4560. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Identifying brain alterations associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs) in young people is critical to understanding their development and improving early intervention and prevention. The ENIGMA Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours (ENIGMA-STB) consortium analyzed neuroimaging data harmonized across sites to examine brain morphology associated with STBs in youth. We performed analyses in three separate stages, in samples ranging from most to least homogeneous in terms of suicide assessment instrument and mental disorder. First, in a sample of 577 young people with mood disorders, in which STBs were assessed with the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS). Second, in a sample of young people with mood disorders, in which STB were assessed using different instruments, MRI metrics were compared among healthy controls without STBs (HC; N = 519), clinical controls with a mood disorder but without STBs (CC; N = 246) and young people with current suicidal ideation (N = 223). In separate analyses, MRI metrics were compared among HCs (N = 253), CCs (N = 217), and suicide attempters (N = 64). Third, in a larger transdiagnostic sample with various assessment instruments (HC = 606; CC = 419; Ideation = 289; HC = 253; CC = 432; Attempt=91). In the homogeneous C-SSRS sample, surface area of the frontal pole was lower in young people with mood disorders and a history of actual suicide attempts (N = 163) than those without a lifetime suicide attempt (N = 323; FDR-p = 0.035, Cohen’s d = 0.34). No associations with suicidal ideation were found. When examining more heterogeneous samples, we did not observe significant associations. Lower frontal pole surface area may represent a vulnerability for a (non-interrupted and non-aborted) suicide attempt; however, more research is needed to understand the nature of its relationship to suicide risk.
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Clayton, M., Renna, M. E., Klemanski, D., Kerns, C., & McLaughlin, K. (2022). The Impact of Emotion Regulation on the Relationship Between Momentary Negative Affect and End-of-Day Worry and Rumination. Cognitive Therapy and Research , 47, 94-108. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Background

Negative self-referential processing (NSRP), including worry and rumination, is a hallmark feature of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Negative affect relates to NSRP, and emotion regulation skills (e.g., reappraisal and acceptance) may attenuate this relationship. This ecological momentary assessment study explored whether increased emotion regulation skills use would alter associations between daily fluctuations of negative affect and end-of-day NSRP.

Methods

Participants were 99 young adults (Mage = 19.94; SD = 1.81), diagnosed with GAD (n = 48) and healthy controls (n = 51). They provided twice daily ratings of negative affect, reappraisal, and acceptance over 14 days, and end-of-day ratings of NSRP. Mixed linear models adjusted for covariates, including state-level worry and rumination.

Results

Individuals with GAD reported higher levels of negative than controls, and high negative affect corresponded to greater end-of-day NSRP across all participants. Increased emotion regulation skills altered the relationship between increased negative affect and higher NSRP, though this did not differ by group. Acceptance and reappraisal differentially affected associations between negative affect and NSRP.

Conclusions

Findings suggest that emotion regulation skills moderate the relationship between negative affect and end-of-day NSRP, highlighting the utility of using reappraisal and acceptance in daily life. This could eventually lead to improvements in treating GAD.

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Garcini, L., Arredondo, M., Berry, O., Church, J., Fryberg, S., Thomason, M., & McLaughlin, K. (2022). Increasing diversity in developmental cognitive neuroscience: A roadmap for increasing representation in pediatric neuroimaging research . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2022.101167 , 58, 1 - 11. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Understanding of human brain development has advanced rapidly as the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience (DCN) has matured into an established scientific discipline. Despite substantial progress, DCN lags behind other related disciplines in terms of diverse representation, standardized reporting requirements for socio-demographic characteristics of participants in pediatric neuroimaging studies, and use of intentional sampling strategies to more accurately represent the socio-demographic, ethnic, and racial composition of the populations from which participants are sampled. Additional efforts are needed to shift DCN towards a more inclusive field that facilitates the study of individual differences across a variety of cultural and contextual experiences. In this commentary, we outline and discuss barriers within our current scientific practice (e.g., research methods) and beliefs (i.e., what constitutes good science, good scientists, and good research questions) that contribute to under-representation and limited diversity within pediatric neuroimaging studies and propose strategies to overcome those barriers. We discuss strategies to address barriers at intrapersonal, interpersonal, community, systemic, and structural levels. Highlighting strength-based models of inclusion and recognition of the value of diversity in DCN research, along with acknowledgement of the support needed to diversify the field is critical for advancing understanding of neurodevelopment and reducing health inequities.
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Hatzenbuehler, M., McLaughlin, K., Weissman, D., & Cikara, M. (2022). Community-level explicit racial prejudice potentiates whites’ neural responses to black faces: A spatial meta-analysis. Social Neuroscience , 1-17. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We evaluated the hypothesis that neural responses to racial out-group members vary systematically based on the level of racial prejudice in the surrounding community. To do so, we conducted a spatial meta-analysis, which included a comprehensive set of studies (k = 22; N = 481). Specifically, we tested whether community-level racial prejudice moderated neural activation to Black (vs. White) faces in primarily White participants. Racial attitudes, obtained from Project Implicit, were aggregated to the county (k = 17; N = 10,743) in which each study was conducted. Multi-level kernel density analysis demonstrated that significant differences in neural activation to Black (vs. White) faces in right amygdala, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were detected more often in communities with higher (vs. lower) levels of explicit (but not implicit) racial prejudice. These findings advance social-cognitive neuroscience by identifying aspects of macro-social contexts that may alter neural responses to out-group members.

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Kim, H. H., McLaughlin, K., Chibnik, L. B., Koenen, K. C., & Timelier, H. (2022). Poverty, Cortical Structure, and Psychopathologic Characteristics in Adolescence. JAMA Network Open , 5 (11), 1-12. Publisher's VersionAbstract

IMPORTANCE Childhood poverty has been associated with increased internalizing and externalizing problems in adolescence, a period of peak onset for psychiatric problems. The underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear because longitudinal studies of poverty, brain structure, and changes in psychiatric symptoms are lacking.

OBJECTIVE To examine whether structural differences in cortical regions mediate the association between household poverty and change in psychiatric symptoms in early adolescence.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS This longitudinal cohort study used baseline and 1-year follow-up data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study. Children aged 9 to 10 years in the US were enrolled between September 1, 2016, and October 15, 2018. Data analysis was performed from August 13, 2021, to September 30, 2022.

EXPOSURES Household poverty as measured by income-to-needs ratio, which incorporates family income and adjusts for family size as a percentage of the federal poverty level.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Mediators were children’s cortical surface area, thickness, and

volume, obtained usingmagnetic resonance imaging. Internalizing and externalizing problems at

1-year follow-up were outcomes measured by maternal report using the Child Behavior Checklist. Analyses were adjusted for baseline psychiatric problems and sociodemographic variables, including sex, race and ethnicity, parental educational level, and study site.

RESULTS Of the 7569 children (mean [SD] age, 9.91 [0.62] years; 3970 boys [52.5%]) included in the analysis, 1042 children (13.8%) lived below the poverty threshold between 2016 and 2018. Poverty was associated with increased externalizing symptoms score at 1-year follow-up (b = 1.57; 95%CI, 1.14-1.99), even after adjustment for baseline externalizing symptoms (b = 0.35; 95%CI, 0.06-0.64). The longitudinal associations of poverty with increases in externalizing problems over time were mediated by reductions in surface area in multiple cortical regions that support executive functioning (middle frontal gyrus), decision-making (lateral orbitofrontal cortex), visual processing (fusiform gyrus), auditory processing (transverse temporal gyrus), and emotion and language processing (superior temporal gyrus).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE The findings of this study suggest that childhood poverty is associated with increases in externalizing problems, but not internalizing problems, over time in early adolescence. This association is mediated by reductions in cortical surface area across numerous brain regions. These findings highlight potential neurobiological mechanisms underlying the link between poverty and the emergence of externalizing problems during early adolescence.

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Arrendo, M., Garcini, L., & MaLaughlin, K. (2022). Integration of Equity and Diversity Frameworks to Advance Biological Psychiatry. Biological Psychiatry , 7 (12), 1198-1199. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Environmental experiences play a powerful role in shaping mental health across the life course. Exposure to trauma, socioeconomic disadvantage, and other forms of chronic stress and adversity are associated with elevated risk for multiple forms of psychopathology throughout development. Biological psychiatry research has revealed that alterations in brain structure and function are key mechanisms through which adverse environmental experiences contribute to the emergence of psychopathology. Characterizing the neurobiological pathways that underlie the links between adverse experiences and the onset of mental disorders is an active and burgeoning area of research.
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Berman, I., McLaughlin, K., Tottenham, N., Godfrey, K., Seeman, T., Loucks, E., Soumi, S., et al. (2022). Measuring early life adversity: A dimensional approach . Development and Psychopathology , 34 (2), 499 - 511. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Exposure to adversity in childhood is associated with elevations in numerous physical and mental health outcomes across the life course. The biological embedding of early experience during periods of developmental plasticity is one pathway that contributes to these associations. Dimensional models specify mechanistic pathways linking different dimensions of adversity to health and well-being outcomes later in life. While findings from existing studies testing these dimensions have provided promising preliminary support for these models, less agreement exists about how to measure the experiences that comprise each dimension. Here, we review existing approaches to measuring two dimensions of adversity: threat and deprivation. We recommend specific measures for measuring these constructs and, when possible, document when the same measure can be used by different reporters and across the lifespan to maximize the utility with which these recommendations can be applied. Through this approach, we hope to stimulate progress in understanding how particular dimensions of early environmental experience contribute to lifelong health.

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Sheridan, M., Mukerji, C., Wade, M., Humphreys, K., Garrisi, K., Goel, S., Patel, K., et al. (2022). Early deprivation alters structural brain developmentfrom middle childhood to adolescence. Science Advances , 1-13. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Hypotheses concerning the biologic embedding of early adversity via developmental neuroplasticity mechanisms have been proposed on the basis of experimental studies in animals. However, no studies have demonstrated a causal link between early adversity and neural development in humans. Here, we present evidence from a randomized controlled trial linking psychosocial deprivation in early childhood to changes in cortical development from childhood to adolescence using longitudinal data from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project. Changes in cortical structure due to randomization to foster care were most pronounced in the lateral and medial prefrontal cortex and in white matter tracts connecting the prefrontal and parietal cortex. Demonstrating the causal impact of exposure to deprivation on the development of neural structure highlights the importance of early placement into family-based care to mitigate lasting neurodevelopmental consequences associated with early-life deprivation.

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Humphreys, K., King, L., Guyon-Harris, K., Sheridan, M., McLaughlin, K., Radulescu, A., Nelson, C., et al. (2022). Foster care leads to sustained cognitive gains following severeearly deprivation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 119 (38), 1-6. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This study examined longitudinal data from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, a randomized controlled trial of foster care as an alternative to institutional care following exposure to severe psychosocial deprivation. We report data from 135 participants assessed in early adulthood (age 18 y). We find that 16 y after randomization occurred, those who had been randomized to high-quality foster care had significantly higher IQ scores (9 points, 0.6 SD) than those randomized to care as usual. Mediation analyses provide evidence that the causal effect of the intervention on cognitive ability in early adulthood could be explained, in part, by higher-quality caregiving and attachment security. These findings indicate that early investment in family care as an alternative to institutional care leads to sustained gains in cognitive ability. Fostering caregiving relationships is a likely mechanism of the intervention. In addition, exploratory analyses indicate that stable placements throughout childhood are associated with the greatest long-term gains in cognitive ability. Whether early interventions for infants and young children lead to lasting change has significant implications for decisions to invest in programs aimed at improving children’s developmental outcomes.

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Wade, M., Parsons, J., Humphreys, K., McLaughlin, K., Sheridan, M., Zeanah, C., Nelson, C., et al. (2022). The Bucharest Early Intervention Project: Adolescent mental health and adaptation following early deprivation. Child Development Perspectives , 154 - 164. Publisher's VersionAbstract

 

Over the last 20 years, we have learned much about the extent to which early-life deprivation affects the mental health of children and adolescents. This body of evidence comes predominantly from studies of children raised in institutional care. The Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) is the only randomized controlled trial designed to evaluate whether the transition to family-based foster care early in development can ameliorate the long-term impact of institutional deprivation on psychopathology during vulnerable developmental windows such as adolescence. In this review, we detail the extent to which early deprivation affects mental health during this period, the capacity of family-based care to facilitate recovery from early deprivation, and the mechanisms underpinning these effects spanning social–emotional, cognitive, stress, and neurobiological domains. We end by discussing the implications and directions for the BEIP and other studies of youth raised in institutions.

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McLaughlin, K., Rosen, M., Kasparek, S., & Rodman, A. (2022). Stress-related psychopathology during the COVID-19 pandemic. Behaviour Research and Therapy , 154, 1-11. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced widespread societal changes that have required ongoing adaptation. Unsurprisingly, stress-related psychopathology has increased during the pandemic, in both children and adults. We review these patterns through the lens of several leading conceptual models of the link between stress and psychopathology. Some of these models focus on characteristics of environmental stressors—including cumulative risk, specific stressor types, and stress sensitization approaches. Understanding the specific aspects of environmental stressors that are most likely to lead to psychopathology can shed light on who may be in most need of clinical intervention. Other models center on factors that can buffer against the onset of psychopathology following stress and the mechanisms through which stressors contribute to emergent psychopathology. These models highlight specific psychosocial processes that may be most usefully targeted by interventions to reduce stress-related psychopathology. We review evidence for each of these stress models in the context of other widescale community-level disruptions, like natural disasters and terrorist attacks, alongside emerging evidence for these stress pathways from the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss clinical implications for developing interventions to reduce stress-related psychopathology during the pandemic, with a focus on brief, digital interventions that may be more accessible than traditional clinical services.
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Maihofer, A. X., & et. al,. (2022). Enhancing discovery of genetic variants for posttraumatic stress disorder through integration of quantitative phenotypes and trauma exposure information. Biological Psychiatry , 91 (7), 626 - 636. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Background

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is heritable and a potential consequence of exposure to traumatic stress. Evidence suggests that a quantitative approach to PTSD phenotype measurement and incorporation of lifetime trauma exposure (LTE) information could enhance the discovery power of PTSD genome-wide association studies (GWASs).

Methods

A GWAS on PTSD symptoms was performed in 51 cohorts followed by a fixed-effects meta-analysis (N = 182,199 European ancestry participants). A GWAS of LTE burden was performed in the UK Biobank cohort (N = 132,988). Genetic correlations were evaluated with linkage disequilibrium score regression. Multivariate analysis was performed using Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS. Functional mapping and annotation of leading loci was performed with FUMA. Replication was evaluated using the Million Veteran Program GWAS of PTSD total symptoms.

Results

GWASs of PTSD symptoms and LTE burden identified 5 and 6 independent genome-wide significant loci, respectively. There was a 72% genetic correlation between PTSD and LTE. PTSD and LTE showed largely similar patterns of genetic correlation with other traits, albeit with some distinctions. Adjusting PTSD for LTE reduced PTSD heritability by 31%. Multivariate analysis of PTSD and LTE increased the effective sample size of the PTSD GWAS by 20% and identified 4 additional loci. Four of these 9 PTSD loci were independently replicated in the Million Veteran Program.

Conclusions

Through using a quantitative trait measure of PTSD, we identified novel risk loci not previously identified using prior case-control analyses. PTSD and LTE have a high genetic overlap that can be leveraged to increase discovery power through multivariate methods.

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Tang, A., McLaughlin, K. A., Sheridan, M., Nelson, C. A., & Zeanah, C. H. (2022). Autonomic reactivity to social rejection, peer difficulties, and the buffering effects of adolescent friendships following early psychosocial deprivation . Emotion , 22 (3), 318 - 330. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Autonomic nervous system reactivity has been posited to be a mechanism contributing to social and emotional problems among children exposed to early adversity. Leveraging data from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, a longitudinal randomized controlled trial of foster care versus institutional care of abandoned children in Romania, we assessed whether altered sympathetic reactivity to peer rejection feedback in early adolescence mediated the relation between early institutional rearing and peer problems in later adolescence. We also assessed whether adolescent friendship quality or randomized placement in foster care early in life moderated these associations. Participants include 68 institutionalized children randomized to care as usual, 68 institutionalized children randomized to foster care, and 135 never-institutionalized children. At age 12, participants reported friendship quality with respect to a best friend and completed a social rejection task while electrocardiogram and impedance cardiography were recorded. Sympathetic nervous system reactivity to rejection feedback was assessed using preejection period (PEP). At ages 12 and 16, peer problems were reported by parents. Mediation analysis revealed that less PEP reactivity to social rejection at age 12 partially mediated the association between early institutionalization and greater peer problems at age 16. Further moderated mediation analysis revealed that this indirect effect was evidenced among previously institutionalized youths with low, but not high, quality friendships. We did not observe foster care intervention effects. These findings suggest that altered sympathetic reactivity to social rejection might be a mechanism linking early institutionalization to social difficulties into adolescence, however, positive adolescent friendships may buffer these effects. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
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Reid-Russell, A., Cvencek, D., Meltzoff, A. N., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2022). Lower implicit self-esteem as a pathway linking childhood abuse to depression and suicidal ideation. Development and Psychopathology , 34, 1272–1286. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Identifying the potential pathways linking childhood abuse to depression and suicidal ideation is critical for developing effective interventions. This study investigated implicit self-esteem—unconscious valenced self-evaluation—as a potential pathway linking childhood abuse with depression and suicidal ideation. A sample of youth aged 8–16 years (N = 240) completed a self-esteem Implicit Association Test (IAT) and assessments of abuse exposure, and psychopathology symptoms, including depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and externalizing symptoms. Psychopathology symptoms were re-assessed 1–3 years later. Childhood abuse was positively associated with baseline and follow-up depression symptoms and suicidal ideation severity, and negatively associated with implicit self-esteem. Lower implicit self-esteem was associated with both depression and suicidal ideation assessed concurrently and predicted significant increases in depression and suicidal ideation over the longitudinal follow-up period. Lower implicit self-esteem was also associated with baseline anxiety, externalizing symptoms, and a general psychopathology factor (i.e. p-factor). We found an indirect effect of childhood abuse on baseline and follow-up depression symptoms and baseline suicidal ideation through implicit self-esteem. These findings point to implicit self-esteem as a potential mechanism linking childhood abuse to depression and suicidal ideation.
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Luby, J., Rogers, C., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2022). Environmental conditions to promote healthy childhood brain/behavioral development: Informing early preventive interventions for delivery in routine care. Biological Psychiatry , 2 (3), 233-241. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Environmental experiences early in life have strong and enduring consequences for cognitive, emotional, and neurobiological development and related physical and mental health trajectories. The powerful influence of early caregiver nurturance and stimulation on promoting positive neurodevelopmental outcomes has been demonstrated across species. These findings elucidate the environmental conditions known to facilitate healthy neurodevelopment and underscore the potential for modifiable psychosocial factors in the environment to be harnessed to inform early preventive interventions to promote health and adaptive development. A framework for early preventive interventions to enhance nurturing and responsive caregiving for implementation during early sensitive periods of brain develop- ment delivered within existing health or educational infrastructures is proposed. Emotional development during sensitive periods is an important, under-recognized, and abundantly modifiable predictor of mental and physical health outcomes that warrants investment of resources and integration of interventions into public health infra- structure for children worldwide. Future studies are needed to further clarify whether and when sensitive periods are present for key developmental domains to inform the optimal timing and targets of these interventions. Numerous available empirically supported early interventions may be modified and applied in briefer and more feasible mo- dalities of delivery to broader populations of developing children. As well established in growth and development across species, essential environmental inputs that are particularly important at specified developmental periods facilitate optimal growth trajectories. Such principles hold great potential in application to early child neuro- development to facilitate a thriving and resilient human population.

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McLaughlin, K. A., Rosen, M. L., Kasparek, S. W., & Rodman, A. M. (2022). Stress-related psychopathology during the COVID-19 pandemic. Behaviour Research and Therapy , 154, 1-11. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced widespread societal changes that have required ongoing adaptation. Unsurprisingly, stress-related psychopathology has increased during the pandemic, in both children and adults. We review these patterns through the lens of several leading conceptual models of the link between stress and psychopathology. Some of these models focus on characteristics of environmental stressors—including cumulative risk, specific stressor types, and stress sensitization approaches. Understanding the specific aspects of environmental stressors that are most likely to lead to psychopathology can shed light on who may be in most need of clinical intervention. Other models center on factors that can buffer against the onset of psychopathology following stress and the mechanisms through which stressors contribute to emergent psychopathology. These models highlight specific psychosocial processes that may be most usefully targeted by interventions to reduce stress-related psychopathology. We review evidence for each of these stress models in the context of other widescale community-level disruptions, like natural disasters and terrorist attacks, alongside emerging evidence for these stress pathways from the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss clinical implications for developing interventions to reduce stress-related psychopathology during the pandemic, with a focus on brief, digital interventions that may be more accessible than traditional clinical services.
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Gee, D. G., DeYoung, K. A., Mclaughlin, K. A., Tillman, R. M., Barch, D. M., Forbes, E. E., Krueger, R. F., et al. (2022). Training the Next Generation of Clinical Psychological Scientists: A Data-Driven Call to Action. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology , 18, 43-70. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The central goal of clinical psychology is to reduce the suffering caused by mental health conditions. Anxiety, mood, psychosis, substance use, personality, and other mental disorders impose an immense burden on global public health and the economy. Tackling this burden will require the development and dissemination of intervention strategies that are more effective, sustainable, and equitable. Clinical psychology is uniquely poised to serve as a transdisciplinary hub for this work. But rising to this challengerequires an honest reckoning with the strengths and weaknesses of current training practices. Building on new data, we identify the most important challenges to training the next generation of clinical scientists. We provide specific recommendations for the full spectrum of stakeholders—from funders, accreditors, and universities to program directors, faculty, and students—with an emphasis on sustainable solutions that promote scientific rigor and discovery and enhance the mental health of clinical scientists and the public alike.
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Schäfer, J. L., Mclaughlin, K. A., Manfro, G. G., Pedro, P., Rohde, L. A., Miguel, E. C., Simioni, A., et al. (2022). Threat and deprivation are associated with distinct aspects of cognition, emotional processing and psychopathology in children and adolescents. Developmental Science. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Exposure to childhood adversity has been consistently associated with poor devel- opmental outcomes, but it is unclear whether these associations vary across dif- ferent forms of adversity. We examined cross-sectional and longitudinal associa- tions between threat and deprivation with cognition, emotional processing, and psy- chopathology in a middle-income country. The sample consisted of 2511 children and adolescents (6–17 years old) from the Brazilian High-Risk Cohort for Mental Condi- tions. Parent reports on childhood adversity were used to construct adversity latent constructs. Psychopathology was measured by the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) to generate a measure of general psychopathology (the “p” factor). Executive function (EF) and attention orienting toward angry faces were assessed using cognitive tasks. All measures were acquired at two time-points 3 years apart and associations were tested using general linear models. Higher levels of psychopathology were predicted by higher levels of threat cross-sectionally and longitudinally, and by deprivation longi- tudinally. For EF, worse performance was associated only with deprivation at baseline and follow-up. Finally, threat was associated with attention orienting towards angry faces cross-sectionally, but neither form of adversity was associated with changes over time in attention bias. Our results suggest that threat and deprivation have dif- ferential associations with cognitive development and psychopathology. Exposure to adversity during childhood is a complex phenomenon with meaningful influences on child development. Because adversity can take many forms, dimensional models might help to disentangle the specific developmental correlates of different types of early experience. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=uEU0L8exyTM.

 

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