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Relations Between Executive Functioning and Internalizing Symptoms Vary as a Function of Frontoparietal-amygdala Resting State Connectivity

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Abstract

The prefrontal cortex and the frontoparietal network are associated with a variety of regulatory behaviors. Functional connections between these brain regions and the amygdala are implicated in risk for anxiety disorders. The prefrontal cortex and frontoparietal network are also linked to executive functioning, or behaviors that help orient action towards higher order goals. Where much research has been focused on deleterious effects of under-controlled behavior, a body of work suggests that over-controlled behavior may also pose a risk for internalizing problems. Indeed, while work suggests that high levels of attention shifting may still be protective against internalizing problems, there is evidence that high levels of inhibitory control may be a risk factor for socioemotional difficulties. In the ABCD sample, which offers large sample sizes as well as sociodemographic diversity, we test the interaction between frontoparietal network-amygdala resting state functional connectivity and executive functioning behaviors on longitudinal changes in internalizing symptoms from approximately 10 to 12 years of age. We found that higher proficiency in attention shifting indeed predicts fewer internalizing behaviors over time. In addition, higher proficiency in inhibitory control predicts fewer internalizing symptoms over time, but only for children showing resting state connectivity moderately above the sample average between the frontoparietal network and amygdala. This finding supports the idea that top-down control may not be adaptive for all children, and relations between executive functioning and anxiety risk may vary as a function of trait-level regulation.

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Data can be obtained through the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study’s Data Exploration and Analysis Portal (DEAP).

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Funding

This study was funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Grant No. DGE1255832 (to KEG) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse T32 DA017629 (to DP). The content is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official position of any funding agencies.

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Correspondence to Kelley E. Gunther.

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Gunther, K.E., Petrie, D., Pérez-Edgar, K. et al. Relations Between Executive Functioning and Internalizing Symptoms Vary as a Function of Frontoparietal-amygdala Resting State Connectivity. Res Child Adolesc Psychopathol 51, 775–788 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-023-01025-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-023-01025-4

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