Interplay of early negative life events, development of orbitofrontal cortical thickness and depression in young adulthood

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Early negative life events (NLE) have long-lasting influences on neurodevelopment and psychopathology. Reduced orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) thickness was frequently associated with NLE and depressive symptoms. OFC thinning might mediate the effect of NLE on depressive symptoms, although few longitudinal studies exist. Using a complete longitudinal design with four time points, we examined whether NLE during childhood and early adolescence predict depressive symptoms in young adulthood through accelerated OFC thinning across adolescence.

We acquired structural MRI from 321 participants at two sites across four time points from ages 14 to 22. We measured NLE with the Life Events Questionnaire at the first time point and depressive symptoms with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale at the fourth time point. Modeling latent growth curves, we tested whether OFC thinning mediates the effect of NLE on depressive symptoms.

A higher burden of NLE, a thicker OFC at the age of 14, and an accelerated OFC thinning across adolescence predicted young adults' depressive symptoms. We did not identify an effect of NLE on OFC thickness nor OFC thickness mediating effects of NLE on depressive symptoms.

Using a complete longitudinal design with four waves, we show that NLE in childhood and early adolescence predict depressive symptoms in the long term. Results indicate that an accelerated OFC thinning may precede depressive symptoms. Assessment of early additionally to acute NLEs and neurodevelopment may be warranted in clinical settings to identify risk factors for depression.


FachzeitschriftJCPP advances
PublikationsstatusElektronische Veröffentlichung vor Drucklegung - 6 Dez. 2023

Externe IDs

ORCID /0000-0003-1477-5395/work/149082122
unpaywall 10.1002/jcv2.12210
ORCID /0000-0001-5398-5569/work/150329542
ORCID /0000-0002-8493-6396/work/150330260