Internalizing Symptoms & Adverse Childhood Experiences Associated with Functional Connectivity in A Middle Childhood Sample

Published:April 25, 2022DOI:



      Research has found overlapping associations in adults of resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) to both internalizing disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety) as well as a history of traumatic events. The present study aimed to extend this previous research to a younger sample by examining RSFC associations with both internalizing symptoms and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in middle childhood.


      We used generalized linear mixed models to examine associations between a priori within- and between-network RSFC with child-reported internalizing symptoms and ACEs using the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development dataset (N= 10,168, Mage(years)= 9.95, SDage(years)= 0.627).


      We found that internalizing symptoms and ACEs were associated with both multiple overlapping and unique RSFC network patterns. Both ACEs and internalizing symptoms were associated with a reduced anticorrelation between the default mode network and the dorsal attention network. However, internalizing symptoms were uniquely associated with lower within-network default mode network connectivity while ACEs were uniquely associated with both lower between-network connectivity of the auditory network and cingulo-opercular network, and higher within-network frontoparietal network connectivity.


      The present study points to overlap in the RSFC associations with internalizing symptoms and ACEs, as well as important areas of specificity in RSFC associations. Many of the RSFC associations found have been previously implicated in attentional control functions, including modulation of attention to sensory stimuli. This may have critical importance in understanding internalizing symptoms and outcomes of ACEs.


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