Weissman, D. G., Lambert, H. K., Rodman, A. M., Peverill, M., Sheridan, M. A., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). Reduced hippocampal and amygdala volume as a mechanism underlying stress sensitization to depression following childhood trauma. Anxiety and Depression Association of America , 37 (9), 916-925. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Background: Stressful life events are more likely to trigger depression among individuals exposed to childhood adversity. However, the mechanisms underlying this stress sensitization remain largely unknown. Any such mechanism must be altered by childhood adversity and interact with recent stressful life events, magnifying their association with depression.

Aim: This study investigated whether reduced hippocampal and amygdala volume are potential mechanisms underlying stress sensitization following childhood violence exposure.

Method: A sample of 149 youth (aged 8-17 years), with (N = 75) and without (N = 74) exposure to physical abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence participated. Participants completed a structural MRI scan and assessments of depression. Approximately 2 years later, stressful life events were assessed along with depression symptoms in 120 participants (57 violence exposed).

Results: Childhood violence exposure was associated with smaller hippocampal and amygdala volume. Stressful life events occurring during the follow-up period predicted worsening depression over time, and this association was magnified among those with smaller hippocampal and amygdala volumes. Significant moderated mediation models revealed the indirect effects of violence exposure on increasing depression over time through hippocampal and amygdala volumes, particularly among youths who experienced more stressful life events.

Conclusions: These results provide evidence for reduced hippocampal and amygdala volume as potential mechanisms of stress sensitization to depression following exposure to violence. More broadly, these patterns suggest that hippocampal and amygdala-mediated emotional and cognitive processes may confer vulnerability to stressful life events among children who have experienced violence.


Platt, J. M., Bates, L. M., Jager, J., McLaughlin, K. A., & Keyes, K. M. (2020). Changes in the depression gender gap from 1992 to 2014: Cohort effects and mediation by gendered social position. Social Science & Medicine , 258, 113088. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The depression gap (i.e., higher rates of depression among women than men) represents an important mental health disparity in the US. Differences in gendered social position (i.e., the roles, responsibilities, and opportunities available to women and men), which have been changing since the mid-20th Century may contribute to this gender gap. The present study examined the evidence for a changing depression gap across birth cohorts and tested the extent to which any changes over time were mediated by changes in relative social position between women and men. Data were from the National Longitudinal Surveys. The depression gap was defined as differences in mean CESD scores for women vs. men. The analytic sample included 13,666 respondents interviewed from 1992 to 2014. Hierarchical mixed models estimated the magnitude of the gender depression gap over time, its association with 10-year birth cohort (range: 1957–1994), and whether any variation was mediated by ratios among women relative to men of obtaining a college degree, being employed full-time, and the average number of hours spent doing housework per week, three indicators of gendered social position. There was a linear decrease in the depression gap by 0.18 points across birth cohort (95% CI = −0.26, −0.10). The results of the mediation analysis estimated that an increasing ratio of college degree attainment mediated 39% of the gender depression gap across cohorts (95% CI = 0.18, 0.78). There was no evidence of mediation due to changing employment or housework ratios. These findings partially support the hypothesis that the depression gap is changing over time and is meaningfully related to the social environment. Understanding the social causes of the depression gap can illuminate the fundamental processes through which depression disparities may be perpetuated or attenuated over time and may aid in the identification of strategies to reduce them.
Green, J. G., McLaughlin, K. A., Alegría, M., Bettini, E., Gruber, M., Hoagwood, K., Tai, L. L., et al. (2020). Associations of Sociodemographic Factors and Psychiatric Disorders With Type of School-Based Mental Health Services Received by Youth. Journal of Adolescent Health , 67 (3), 392-400. Publisher's VersionAbstract
\textlessh2\textgreaterAbstract\textless/h2\textgreater\textlessh3\textgreaterPurpose\textless/h3\textgreater\textlessp\textgreaterSchools provide access to mental health services for traditionally underserved youth. However, there is variability in the types of school-based services students receive (e.g., school counseling, services in separate classrooms, or schools serving students with psychiatric disorders). Prior research has typically not distinguished among these different types of school-based services. The present study examines sociodemographic characteristics and disorders associated with the types of services received in schools.\textless/p\textgreater\textlessh3\textgreaterMethods\textless/h3\textgreater\textlessp\textgreaterData were analyzed from a sample of adolescent–parent pairs in the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement who received school mental health services (N = 1,204). DSM-IV diagnoses were based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview administered to adolescents and questionnaires self-administered to parents. Adolescents (aged 13–18 years) and parents also responded to questions about lifetime school-based mental health service receipt.\textless/p\textgreater\textlessh3\textgreaterResults\textless/h3\textgreater\textlessp\textgreaterAmong those receiving school-based mental health services, almost one-third (29.7%) received services in a separate classroom and almost one-fourth (22.3%) in a separate school. Increased likelihood of lifetime placement in a separate classroom or school was detected among older youth, males, blacks, Latinos, youth with learning disabilities, those whose parents had fewer years of education, and those who received community-based mental health services. Oppositional defiant disorder was associated with increased lifetime placement in a separate school.\textless/p\textgreater\textlessh3\textgreaterConclusions\textless/h3\textgreater\textlessp\textgreaterThe results advance the evidence base by indicating that racial/ethnic minority youth and those whose parents have fewer years of education were more likely to receive school-based mental health services in separate settings. These results provide more context to studies of school-based mental health service receipt.\textless/p\textgreater
McLaughlin, K. A., Colich, N. L., Rodman, A. M., & Weissman, D. G. (2020). Mechanisms linking childhood trauma exposure and psychopathology: a transdiagnostic model of risk and resilience. BMC Medicine , 18 (1). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Transdiagnostic processes confer risk for multiple types of psychopathology and explain the co-occurrence of different disorders. For this reason, transdiagnostic processes provide ideal targets for early intervention and treatment. Childhood trauma exposure is associated with elevated risk for virtually all commonly occurring forms of psychopathology. We articulate a transdiagnostic model of the developmental mechanisms that explain the strong links between childhood trauma and psychopathology as well as protective factors that promote resilience against multiple forms of psychopathology. We present a model of transdiagnostic mechanisms spanning three broad domains: social information processing, emotional processing, and accelerated biological aging. Changes in social information processing that prioritize threat-related information—such as heightened perceptual sensitivity to threat, misclassification of negative and neutral emotions as anger, and attention biases towards threat-related cues—have been consistently observed in children who have experienced trauma. Patterns of emotional processing common in children exposed to trauma include elevated emotional reactivity to threat-related stimuli, low emotional awareness, and difficulties with emotional learning and emotion regulation. More recently, a pattern of accelerated aging across multiple biological metrics, including pubertal development and cellular aging, has been found in trauma-exposed children. Although these changes in social information processing, emotional responding, and the pace of biological aging reflect developmental adaptations that may promote safety and provide other benefits for children raised in dangerous environments, they have been consistently associated with the emergence of multiple forms of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology and explain the link between childhood trauma exposure and transdiagnostic psychopathology. Children with higher levels of social support, particularly from caregivers, are less likely to develop psychopathology following trauma exposure. Caregiver buffering of threat-related processing may be one mechanism explaining this protective effect. Childhood trauma exposure is a powerful transdiagnostic risk factor associated with elevated risk for multiple forms of psychopathology across development. Changes in threat-related social and emotional processing and accelerated biological aging serve as transdiagnostic mechanisms linking childhood trauma with psychopathology. These transdiagnostic mechanisms represent critical targets for early interventions aimed at preventing the emergence of psychopathology in children who have experienced trauma.
Bustamante, C. M. V., Rodman, A. M., Dennison, M. J., Flournoy, J. C., Mair, P., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). 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 , 61 (10), 1116-1125. 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.
Green, J. G., McLaughlin, K. A., Fillbrunn, M., Fukuda, M., Jackson, J. S., Kessler, R. C., Sadikova, E., et al. (2020). Barriers to Mental Health Service Use and Predictors of Treatment Drop Out: Racial/Ethnic Variation in a Population-Based Study. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research , 47, 606-616. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This study examines racial/ethnic differences in perceived need for mental health treatment, barriers to treatment receipt, and reasons for dropout. Data are from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Studies, a pooled dataset from three U.S. nationally-representative adult samples. Among respondents with a 12-month psychiatric disorder who received no treatment (N = 1417), Asians and Latinos reported lower perceived need than Blacks and Whites, and Latinos reported the fewest attitudinal barriers. Among those with a 12-month disorder who dropped out of treatment, Asians and Latinos gave more reasons for dropping out. Significant interactions of race/ethnicity with other characteristics identified subpopulations with high unmet need.
Nook, E. C., Stavish, C. M., Sasse, S. F., Lambert, H. K., Mair, P., McLaughlin, K. A., & Somerville, L. H. (2020). Charting the development of emotion comprehension and abstraction from childhood to adulthood using observer-rated and linguistic measures. Emotion , 20 (5), 773-792. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This study examined two facets of emotion development: emotion word comprehension (knowing the meaning of emotion words such as “anger” or “excitement”) and emotion concept abstraction (representing emotions in terms of internal psychological states that generalize across situations). Using a novel emotion vocabulary assessment, we captured how a cross-sectional sample of participants aged 4-25 (N=196) defined 24 emotions. Smoothing spline regression models suggested that emotion comprehension followed an emergent shape: knowledge of emotion words increased across childhood and plateaued around age 11. Human coders rated the abstractness of participants’ responses, and these ratings also followed an emergent shape but plateaued significantly later than comprehension, around age 18. An automated linguistic analysis of abstractness supported coders’ perceptions of increased abstractness across age. Finally, coders assessed the definitional “strategies” participants used to describe emotions. Young children tended to describe emotions using concrete strategies such as providing example situations that evoked those emotions or by referring to physiological markers of emotional experiences. Whereas use of these concrete strategies decreased with age, the tendency to use more abstract strategies such as providing general definitions that delineated the causes and characteristics of emotions or by providing synonyms of emotion words increased with age. Overall, this work (i) provides a tool for assessing definitions of emotion terms, (ii) demonstrates that emotion concept abstraction increases across age, and (iii) suggests that adolescence is a period in which emotion words are comprehended but their level of abstraction continues to mature.
Colich, N. L., Platt, J. M., Keyes, K. M., Sumner, J. A., Allen, N. B., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). Earlier age at menarche as a transdiagnostic mechanism linking childhood trauma with multiple forms of psychopathology in adolescent girls. Psychological Medicine , 50 (7), 1090-1098. Publisher's VersionAbstract
{BackgroundAlthough early life adversity (ELA) increases risk for psychopathology, mechanisms linking ELA with the onset of psychopathology remain poorly understood. Conceptual models have argued that ELA accelerates development. It is unknown whether all forms of ELA are associated with accelerated development or whether early maturation is a potential mechanism linking ELA with psychopathology. We examine whether two distinct dimensions of ELA – threat and deprivation – have differential associations with pubertal timing in girls, and evaluate whether accelerated pubertal timing is a mechanism linking ELA with the onset of adolescent psychopathology.MethodsData were drawn from a large, nationally representative sample of 4937 adolescent girls. Multiple forms of ELA characterized by threat and deprivation were assessed along with age at menarche (AAM) and the onset of DSM-IV fear, distress, externalizing, and eating disorders.ResultsGreater exposure to threat was associated with earlier AAM (B = −0.1
Heleniak, C., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). Social-cognitive mechanisms in the cycle of violence: Cognitive and affective theory of mind, and externalizing psychopathology in children and adolescents. Development and Psychopathology , 32 (2), 735-750. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Children who are victims of interpersonal violence have a markedly elevated risk of engaging in aggressive behavior and perpetrating violence in adolescence and adulthood. Although alterations in social information processing have long been understood as a core mechanism underlying the link between violence exposure and externalizing behavior, scant research has examined more basic social cognition abilities that might underlie this association. To that end, this study examined the associations of interpersonal violence exposure with cognitive and affective theory of mind (ToM), core social-cognitive processes that underlie many aspects of social information processing. In addition, we evaluated whether difficulties with ToM were associated with externalizing psychopathology. Data were collected in a community-based sample of 246 children and adolescents aged 8–16 who had a high concentration of exposure to interpersonal violence. Violence exposure was associated with lower accuracy during cognitive and affective ToM, and the associations persisted after adjusting for co-occurring forms of adversity characterized by deprivation, including poverty and emotional neglect. Poor ToM performance, in turn, was associated with externalizing behaviors. These findings shed light on novel pathways that increase risk for aggression in children who have experienced violence.
Weissman, D., Nook, E. C., Dews, A. A., Miller, A. B., Lambert, H., Sasse, S. F., Somerville, L., et al. (2020). Low Emotional Awareness as a Transdiagnostic Mechanism Underlying Psychopathology in Adolescence , 8 (6), 971-988 . 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.
Weissman, D. G., Jenness, J. L., Colich, N. L., Miller, A. B., Sambrook, K. A., Sheridan, M. A., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). 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 , 59 (11), 1274-1284. 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
Rosen, M. L., Hagen, M. K. P., Lurie, L. A., Miles, Z. E., Sheridan, M. A., Meltzoff, A. N., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). Cognitive Stimulation as a Mechanism Linking Socioeconomic Status With Executive Function: A Longitudinal Investigation. Child Development , 91 (4), 762-779. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Executive functions (EF), including working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility, vary as a function of socioeconomic status (SES), with children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds having poorer performance than their higher SES peers. Using observational methods, we investigated cognitive stimulation in the home as a mechanism linking SES with EF. In a sample of 101 children aged 60–75 months, cognitive stimulation fully mediated SES-related differences in EF. Critically, cognitive stimulation was positively associated with the development of inhibition and cognitive flexibility across an 18-month follow-up period. Furthermore, EF at T1 explained SES-related differences in academic achievement at T2. Early cognitive stimulation—a modifiable factor—may be a desirable target for interventions designed to ameliorate SES-related differences in cognitive development and academic achievement.
Sheridan, M. A., Shi, F., Miller, A. B., Salhi, C., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). Network structure reveals clusters of associations between childhood adversities and development outcomes. Developmental Science , e12934. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Exposure to childhood adversity is common and associated with a host of negative developmental outcomes. The most common approach used to examine the consequences of adversity exposure is a cumulative risk model. Recently, we have proposed a novel approach, the dimensional model of adversity and psychopathology (DMAP), where different dimensions of adversity are hypothesized to impact health and well-being through different pathways. We expect deprivation to primarily disrupt cognitive processing, whereas we expect threat to primarily alter emotional reactivity and automatic regulation. Recent hypothesis-driven approaches provide support for these differential associations of deprivation and threat on developmental outcomes. However, it is not clear whether these patterns would emerge using data-driven approaches. Here we use a network analytic approach to identify clusters of related adversity exposures and outcomes in an initial study (Study 1: N = 277 adolescents aged 16–17 years; 55.1% female) and a replication (Study 2: N = 262 children aged 8–16 years; 45.4% female). We statistically compare our observed clusters with our hypothesized DMAP model and a clustering we hypothesize would be the result of a cumulative stress model. In both samples we observed a network structure consistent with the DMAP model and statistically different than the hypothesized cumulative stress model. Future work seeking to identify in the pathways through which adversity impacts development should consider multiple dimensions of adversity.
Sheridan, M. A., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2020). Neurodevelopmental mechanisms linking ACEs with psychopathology. In Adverse Childhood Experiences (pp. 265–285) . Elsevier. Publisher's Version PDF
Machlin, L., McLaughlin, K. A., & Sheridan, M. A. (2020). Brain structure mediates the association between socioeconomic status and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Developmental Science , 23 (1), e12844. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Low socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with greater risk for symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). One mechanism through which SES may confer risk for ADHD is by influencing brain structure. Alterations to cortical thickness, surface area and subcortical volume have been associated with low SES and with the presence of ADHD across multiple studies. The current study examined whether cortical thickness, surface area or subcortical volume mediate the associations between SES and ADHD in youth 3–21 years old (N = 874) from the Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition and Genetics Study. Freesurfer was used to estimate cortical thickness, surface area and subcortical volume from structural magnetic resonance imaging. Parents reported on demographics, family SES, ADHD diagnoses and the presence of child attention problems. Statistical mediation was assessed using a bootstrap resampling procedure. Controlling for parental ADHD, child age, gender, birth weight and scanner, children in low SES families were more likely to be in the ADHD group. Consistent with previous reports in this sample, low SES was associated with reduced surface area across the frontal lobe and reduced subcortical volume in the amygdala, cerebellum, hippocampus and basal ganglia. Of these regions, a significant indirect effect of SES on ADHD status through subcortical volume was observed for the left cerebellum (95% confidence interval: 0.004, 0.022), the right cerebellum (95% confidence interval: 0.006, 0.025), and the right caudate (95% confidence interval: 0.002, 0.022). Environmentally mediated changes in the cerebellum and the caudate may be neurodevelopmental mechanisms explaining elevated risk of ADHD in children in low SES families.
Harkness, K. L., & Hayden, E. P. (2020). The Oxford Handbook of Stress and Mental Health (pp. 45-74) . Oxford University Press.Abstract
Decades of research have unequivocally shown that life stress is a central factor in the onset and course of almost every psychiatric disorder. However, the processes by which stress influences mental health are complex, and the integration of the myriad of biological and psychological systems involved requires a multidisciplinary perspective. Fortunately, scientists working from diverse vantage points have made huge advances in unpacking the complexities of stress-disorder relations. The Oxford Handbook of Stress and Mental Health provides a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of the science of stress and mental health. Topics covered include assessment issues, the role of stress in various mental disorders, developmental influences and individual difference factors that predict reactivity to stress, and treatment of stress-related mental health problems. Internationally recognized scholars in the field of stress and stress-related disorders have contributed their diverse expertise, providing both depth and breadth in terms of understanding stress and mental health. Chapters 1 to 4 provide a critical discussion of assessment issues in the domains of stress exposure and stress response. Chapters 5 to 14 review the relation of stress exposures to a broad range of mental health outcomes across the lifespan. Chapters 15 to 25 are concerned with understanding how the stress response unfolds at both psychological and neurobiological levels. Lastly, Chapters 26 to 33 addresses stress adaptation and resilience, as well as evidence-based treatments for stress and stress-related disorder. This volume will constitute an invaluable resource for students, established scientists, and clinicians looking for a comprehensive treatment of the topic of stress and mental health.
McLaughlin, K. A., Weissman, D., & Bitrán, D. (2019). Childhood Adversity and Neural Development: A Systematic Review. Annual Review of Developmental Psychology , 1 (1), 277–312. Publisher's VersionAbstract
An extensive literature on childhood adversity and neurodevelopment has emerged over the past decade. We evaluate two conceptual models of adversity and neurodevelopment—the dimensional model of adversity and stress acceleration model—in a systematic review of 109 studies using MRI-based measures of neural structure and function in children and adolescents. Consistent with the dimensional model, children exposed to threat had reduced amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and hippocampal volume and heightened amygdala activation to threat in a majority of studies; these patterns were not observed consistently in children exposed to deprivation. In contrast, reduced volume and altered function in frontoparietal regions were observed consistently in children exposed to deprivation but not children exposed to threat. Evidence for accelerated development in amygdala-mPFC circuits was limited but emerged in other metrics of neurodevelopment. Progress in charting neurodevelopmental consequences of adversity requires larger samples, longitudinal designs, and more precise assessments of adversity.
Rosen, M. L., Meltzoff, A. N., Sheridan, M. A., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2019). Distinct aspects of the early environment contribute to associative memory, cued attention, and memory-guided attention: Implications for academic achievement. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience , 40, 100731. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with numerous aspects of cognitive development and disparities in academic achievement. The specific environmental factors that contribute to these disparities remain poorly understood. We used observational methods to characterize three aspects of the early environment that may contribute to SES-related differences in cognitive development: violence exposure, cognitive stimulation, and quality of the physical environment. We evaluated the associations of these environmental characteristics with associative memory, cued attention, and memory-guided attention in a sample of 101 children aged 60–75 months. We further investigated whether these specific cognitive abilities mediated the association between SES and academic achievement 18 months later. Violence exposure was specifically associated with poor associative memory, but not cued attention or memory-guided attention. Cognitive stimulation and higher quality physical environment were positively associated with cued attention accuracy, but not after adjusting for all other environmental variables. The quality of the physical environment was associated with memory-guided attention accuracy. Of the cognitive abilities examined, only memory-guided attention contributed to SES-related differences in academic achievement. These findings suggest specificity in how particular aspects of early environmental experience scaffold different types of attention and memory subserved by distinct neural circuits and shed light on a novel cognitive-developmental mechanism underlying SES-related disparities in academic achievement.
Platt, J. M., Keyes, K. M., McLaughlin, K. A., & Kaufman, A. S. (2019). The Flynn effect for fluid IQ may not generalize to all ages or ability levels: A population-based study of 10,000 US adolescents. Intelligence , 77, 101385. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Generational changes in IQ (the Flynn Effect) have been extensively researched and debated. Within the US, gains of 3 points per decade have been accepted as consistent across age and ability level, suggesting that tests with outdated norms yield spuriously high IQs. However, findings are generally based on small samples, have not been validated across ability levels, and conflict with reverse effects recently identified in Scandinavia and other countries. Using a well-validated measure of fluid intelligence, we investigated the Flynn Effect by comparing scores normed in 1989 and 2003, among a representative sample of American adolescents ages 13–18 (n = 10,073). Additionally, we examined Flynn Effect variation by age, sex, ability level, parental age, and SES. Adjusted mean IQ differences per decade were calculated using generalized linear models. Overall the Flynn Effect was not significant; however, effects varied substantially by age and ability level. IQs increased 2.3 points at age 13 (95% CI = 2.0, 2.7), but decreased 1.6 points at age 18 (95% CI = −2.1, −1.2). IQs decreased 4.9 points for those with IQ ≤ 70 (95% CI = −4.9, −4.8), but increased 3.5 points among those with IQ ≥ 130 (95% CI = 3.4, 3.6). The Flynn Effect was not meaningfully related to other background variables. Using the largest sample of US adolescent IQs to date, we demonstrate significant heterogeneity in fluid IQ changes over time. Reverse Flynn Effects at age 18 are consistent with previous data, and those with lower ability levels are exhibiting worsening IQ over time. Findings by age and ability level challenge generalizing IQ trends throughout the general population.
Chen, R., Kessler, R. C., Sadikova, E., NeMoyer, A., Sampson, N. A., Alvarez, K., Vilsaint, C. L., et al. (2019). Racial and ethnic differences in individual-level and area-based socioeconomic status and 12-month DSM-IV mental disorders. Journal of Psychiatric Research , 119, 48–59. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The purpose of this study was to: (1) examine the associations of individual-level objective socioeconomic status (OSS), subjective socioeconomic status (SSS), and area-based indicators of socioeconomic status, with 12-month DSM-IV mood, anxiety, alcohol use, and drug use disorders; and, (2) determine the extent of racial/ethnic differences in these associations across non-Latino White, non-Latino Black, Latino, and Asian participants. Data are from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Studies dataset, a collection of three population-based surveys of mental disorders among U.S. residents aged 18 and older (n = 13,775). Among all indicators of socioeconomic status, SSS was most consistently associated with 12-month mental disorders. Income was negatively associated with mood and anxiety disorders; education was negatively associated with alcohol use and drug use disorders. Significant interactions with race/ethnicity were found for the associations of socioeconomic indicators with anxiety, alcohol use, and drug use disorders but not with mood disorders. SSS was not associated with any of the 12-month mental disorders among Blacks. Education had stronger associations with 12-month anxiety and alcohol use disorders among Whites than among other racial/ethnic groups. Among Asians, low income compared to high income was associated with a lower risk of anxiety disorders and less than high school completion compared to college or more was associated with a lower risk of alcohol use disorders. Finally, tract-level income inequality was associated with a greater risk of drug use disorders only among Blacks. The patterns and magnitudes of the associations of individual-level and area-based socioeconomic indicators differed by type of disorder and race/ethnicity.