Parenting is a critical factor in adolescent social–emotional development, with maladaptive parenting leading to risk for the development of psychopathology. However, the emotion-related brain mechanisms underlying the influence of parenting on psychopathology symptoms are unknown. The present study utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging and laboratory measures to examine sex-differentiated associations among parenting, adolescent emotion-related brain function, and substance use and psychopathology symptoms in 66 12–14-year olds. Maternal parenting behaviors (warmth, negative parenting) were observed in a laboratory task. Adolescent brain responses to negative emotional stimuli were assessed in emotion processing regions of interest (left [L] and right [R] amygdala, anterior insula, and anterior cingulate cortex [ACC]). Adolescents reported on substance use and depressive, anxiety, and externalizing symptoms. Maternal negative parenting predicted adolescent brain activation differently by sex. For girls, negative parenting predicted heightened R ACC activation to negative emotional stimuli. For boys, negative parenting predicted blunted L and R anterior insula and L ACC activation. Furthermore, for girls, but not boys, heightened L anterior insula and heightened L and R ACC activation were associated with substance use and depressive symptoms, respectively. Findings suggest neural response to negative emotion as a possible sex-specific pathway from negative parenting to psychopathology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)