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Title: Widespread attenuating changes in brain connectivity associated with the general factor of psychopathology in 9- and 10-year olds

Convergent research identifies a general factor (“P factor”) that confers transdiagnostic risk for psychopathology. Large-scale networks are key organizational units of the human brain. However, studies of altered network connectivity patterns associated with the P factor are limited, especially in early adolescence when most mental disorders are first emerging. We studied 11,875 9- and 10-year olds from the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, of whom 6593 had high-quality resting-state scans. Network contingency analysis was used to identify altered interconnections associated with the P factor among 16 large-scale networks. These connectivity changes were then further characterized with quadrant analysis that quantified the directionality of P factor effects in relation to neurotypical patterns of positive versus negative connectivity across connections. The results showed that the P factor was associated with altered connectivity across 28 network cells (i.e., sets of connections linking pairs of networks);pPERMUTATIONvalues < 0.05 FDR-corrected for multiple comparisons. Higher P factor scores were associated with hypoconnectivity within default network and hyperconnectivity between default network and multiple control networks. Among connections within these 28 significant cells, the P factor was predominantly associated with “attenuating” effects (67%;pPERMUTATION < 0.0002), i.e., reduced connectivity at neurotypically positive connections and increased connectivity at neurotypically negative connections. These results demonstrate that the general factor of psychopathology produces attenuating changes across multiple networks including default network, involved in spontaneous responses, and control networks involved in cognitive control. Moreover, they clarify mechanisms of transdiagnostic risk for psychopathology and invite further research into developmental causes of distributed attenuated connectivity.

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Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
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Journal Name:
Translational Psychiatry
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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