Testing the Ecophenotype Model: Cortical Structure Alterations in Conduct Disorder With Versus Without Childhood Maltreatment

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


  • Marlene Staginnus - , University of Bath (Autor:in)
  • Harriet Cornwell - , University of Bath (Autor:in)
  • Nicola Toschi - , University of Rome Tor Vergata (Autor:in)
  • Maaike Oosterling - , University of Bath (Autor:in)
  • Michal Paradysz - , University of Bath (Autor:in)
  • Areti Smaragdi - , National Center for Child Health and Development (Autor:in)
  • Karen González-Madruga - , Middlesex University (Autor:in)
  • Ruth Pauli - , University of Birmingham (Autor:in)
  • Jack C Rogers - , University of Birmingham (Autor:in)
  • Anka Bernhard - , Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt (Autor:in)
  • Anne Martinelli - , Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt (Autor:in)
  • Gregor Kohls - , Klinik und Poliklinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Universitätsklinikum Aachen (Autor:in)
  • Nora Maria Raschle - , University of Zurich (Autor:in)
  • Kerstin Konrad - , Universitätsklinikum Aachen (Autor:in)
  • Christina Stadler - , Universität Basel (Autor:in)
  • Christine M Freitag - , Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt (Autor:in)
  • Stephane A De Brito - , University of Birmingham (Autor:in)
  • Graeme Fairchild - , University of Bath (Autor:in)


BACKGROUND: Childhood maltreatment is common in youths with conduct disorder (CD), and both CD and maltreatment have been linked to neuroanatomical alterations. Nonetheless, our understanding of the contribution of maltreatment to the neuroanatomical alterations observed in CD remains limited. We tested the applicability of the ecophenotype model to CD, which holds that maltreatment-related psychopathology is (neurobiologically) distinct from psychopathology without maltreatment.

METHODS: Surface-based morphometry was used to investigate cortical volume, thickness, surface area, and gyrification in a mixed-sex sample of participants with CD (n = 114) and healthy control subjects (HCs) (n = 146), ages 9 to 18 years. Using vertexwise general linear models adjusted for sex, age, total intracranial volume, and site, the control group was compared with the overall CD group and the CD subgroups with (n = 49) versus without (n = 65) maltreatment (assessed by the Children's Bad Experiences interview). These subgroups were also directly compared.

RESULTS: The overall CD group showed lower cortical thickness in the right inferior frontal gyrus. CD youths with a history of maltreatment showed more widespread structural alterations relative to HCs, comprising lower thickness, volume, and gyrification in inferior and middle frontal regions. Conversely, CD youths with no history of maltreatment only showed greater left superior temporal gyrus folding relative to HCs. When contrasting the CD subgroups, those with maltreatment displayed lower right superior temporal gyrus volume, right precentral gyrus surface area, and gyrification in frontal, temporal, and parietal regions.

CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with the ecophenotype model, findings indicated that CD youths with versus without maltreatment differ neurobiologically. This highlights the importance of considering maltreatment history in neuroimaging studies of CD and other disorders.


Seiten (von - bis)609-619
FachzeitschriftBiological psychiatry. Cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Juni 2023

Externe IDs

Scopus 85151983865



  • Adolescent, Child, Humans, Conduct Disorder, Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods, Temporal Lobe/pathology, Prefrontal Cortex/diagnostic imaging, Child Abuse