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APA Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Developmental psychopathology, ontogenic process models, gene–environment interplay, and brain development: An emerging synthesis.Open in a New Window

This article introduces the special section of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. This Special Section exemplifies what are arguably the most current iterations of developmental psychopathology, which involve an intensive focus on both molecular genetics and brain architecture—and their interactions with crucial environmental features and forces—for elucidating processes of individual development, or ontogenesis, toward psychopathology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Additive genetic risk from five serotonin system polymorphisms interacts with interpersonal stress to predict depression.Open in a New Window

Behavioral genetic research supports polygenic models of depression in which many genetic variations each contribute a small amount of risk, and prevailing diathesis-stress models suggest gene–environment interactions (G×E). Multilocus profile scores of additive risk offer an approach that is consistent with polygenic models of depression risk. In a first demonstration of this approach in a G×E predicting depression, we created an additive multilocus profile score from 5 serotonin system polymorphisms (1 each in the genes HTR1A, HTR2A, HTR2C, and 2 in TPH2). Analyses focused on 2 forms of interpersonal stress as environmental risk factors. Using 5 years of longitudinal diagnostic and life stress interviews from 387 emerging young adults in the Youth Emotion Project, survival analyses show that this multilocus profile score interacts with major interpersonal stressful life events to predict major depressive episode onsets (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.815, p = .007). Simultaneously, there was a significant protective effect of the profile score without a recent event (HR = 0.83, p = .030). The G×E effect with interpersonal chronic stress was not significant (HR = 1.15, p = .165). Finally, effect sizes for genetic factors examined ignoring stress suggested such an approach could lead to overlooking or misinterpreting genetic effects. Both the G×E effect and the protective simple main effect were replicated in a sample of early adolescent girls (N = 105). We discuss potential benefits of the multilocus genetic profile score approach and caveats for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


DRD4 and DRD2 genes, parenting, and adolescent delinquency: Longitudinal evidence for a gene by environment interaction.Open in a New Window

Gene by environment (G × E) research has been increasingly appreciated as it relates to the development of psychopathology. In particular, interactions between dopaminergic genotypes and maladaptive parenting have been prominently in the spotlight. In this study, we investigated whether high parental psychological control and low support would be differentially related to the development of delinquency in adolescents based on their genetic background (i.e., DRD4 and DRD2 genotypes). Data were derived from a 5-wave longitudinal survey among adolescents (N = 308; Mage = 13.4 at Time 1). After accounting for possible passive genetic effects (i.e., parents’ genotype, Parents’ Genotype × Adolescents’ Genotype, and Parents’ Genotype × Parenting, cf. Keller, 2014), latent growth modeling revealed a significant interaction of DRD2 × Parental Support, indicating that adolescents with the DRD2 A2A2 genotype were more vulnerable for low parental support, developing more delinquent behavior as a consequence. No significant interactions emerged for DRD4 with parental support and psychological control, nor for DRD2 with parental psychological control. The observed effect size of the identified DRD2 × parental support interaction was modest, emphasizing that replication is essential to confirm the present evidence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Depression from childhood into late adolescence: Influence of gender, development, genetic susceptibility, and peer stress.Open in a New Window

Depression is a debilitating mental illness with clear developmental patterns from childhood through late adolescence. Here, we present data from the Gene Environment Mood (GEM) study, which used an accelerated longitudinal cohort design with youth (N = 665) starting in 3rd, 6th, and 9th grades, and a caretaker, who were recruited from the general community, and were then assessed repeatedly through semistructured diagnostic interviews every 6 months over 3 years (7 waves of data) to establish and then predict trajectories of depression from age 8 to 18. First, we demonstrated that overall prevalence rates of depression over time, by age, gender, and pubertal status, in the GEM study closely match those trajectories previously obtained in past developmental epidemiological research. Second, we tested whether a genetic vulnerability-stress model involving 5-HTTLPR and chronic peer stress was moderated by developmental factors. Results showed that older aged adolescents with SS/SL genotype, who experienced higher peer chronic stress over 3 years, were the most likely to be diagnosed with a depressive episode over time. Girls experiencing greater peer chronic stress were the most likely to develop depression. This study used repeated assessments of diagnostic interviewing in a moderately large sample of youth over 3 years to show that depression rates increase in middle to late adolescence, or postpubertally, and that the gender difference in depression emerges earlier in adolescence (age 12.5), or postpubertally. Additionally, genetically susceptible older adolescents who experience chronic peer stress were the most likely to become depressed over time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Amygdala functional connectivity, HPA axis genetic variation, and life stress in children and relations to anxiety and emotion regulation.Open in a New Window

Internalizing pathology is related to alterations in amygdala resting state functional connectivity, potentially implicating altered emotional reactivity and/or emotion regulation in the etiological pathway. Importantly, there is accumulating evidence that stress exposure and genetic vulnerability impact amygdala structure/function and risk for internalizing pathology. The present study examined whether early life stress and genetic profile scores (10 single nucleotide polymorphisms within 4 hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis genes: CRHR1, NR3C2, NR3C1, and FKBP5) predicted individual differences in amygdala functional connectivity in school-age children (9- to 14-year-olds; N = 120). Whole-brain regression analyses indicated that increasing genetic “risk” predicted alterations in amygdala connectivity to the caudate and postcentral gyrus. Experience of more stressful and traumatic life events predicted weakened amygdala-anterior cingulate cortex connectivity. Genetic “risk” and stress exposure interacted to predict weakened connectivity between the amygdala and the inferior and middle frontal gyri, caudate, and parahippocampal gyrus in those children with the greatest genetic and environmental risk load. Furthermore, amygdala connectivity longitudinally predicted anxiety symptoms and emotion regulation skills at a later follow-up. Amygdala connectivity mediated effects of life stress on anxiety and of genetic variants on emotion regulation. The current results suggest that considering the unique and interacting effects of biological vulnerability and environmental risk factors may be key to understanding the development of altered amygdala functional connectivity, a potential factor in the risk trajectory for internalizing pathology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Linking the serotonin transporter gene, family environments, hippocampal volume and depression onset: A prospective imaging gene × environment analysis.Open in a New Window

A single imaging gene-environment (IGxE) framework that is able to simultaneously model genetic, neurobiological, and environmental influences on psychopathology outcomes is needed to improve understanding of how complex interrelationships between allelic variation, differences in neuroanatomy or neuroactivity, and environmental experience affect risk for psychiatric disorder. In a longitudinal study of adolescent development we demonstrate the utility of such an IGxE framework by testing whether variation in parental behavior at age 12 altered the strength of an imaging genetics pathway, involving an indirect association between allelic variation in the serotonin transporter gene to variation in hippocampal volume and consequent onset of major depressive disorder by age 18. Results were consistent with the presence of an indirect effect of the serotonin transporter S-allele on depression onset via smaller left and right hippocampal volumes that was significant only in family environments involving either higher levels of parental aggression or lower levels of positive parenting. The previously reported finding of S-allele carriers’ increased risk of depression in adverse environments may, therefore, be partly because of the effects of these environments on a neurobiological pathway from the serotonin transporter gene to depression onset that proceeds through variation in hippocampal volume. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Predicting first onset of depression in young girls: Interaction of diurnal cortisol and negative life events.Open in a New Window

Interactions between biological vulnerability and environmental adversity are central to the pathophysiology of depression. Given evidence that the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis influences biological responses to environmental events, in the current longitudinal study the authors examined HPA-axis functioning, negative life events, and their interaction as predictors of the first onset of depression. At baseline, girls ages 9 to 14 years provided saliva samples to assess levels of diurnal cortisol production, quantified by total cortisol production (area under the curve with respect to ground; AUCg) and the cortisol awakening response (CAR). The authors then followed these participants until they reached age 18 in order to assess their subsequent experience of negative life events and the onset of a depressive episode. They found that the influence of negative life events on the subsequent onset of depression depended on HPA-axis functioning at baseline. Specifically, negative life events predicted the onset of depression in girls with higher levels of AUCg, but not in girls with lower levels of AUCg. In contrast, CAR did not predict the onset of depression either alone or in interaction with negative life events. These findings suggest that elevated total cortisol production in daily life potentiates susceptibility to environmental adversity and signals the need for early intervention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Monoacylglycerol lipase (MGLL) polymorphism rs604300 interacts with childhood adversity to predict cannabis dependence symptoms and amygdala habituation: Evidence from an endocannabinoid system-level analysis.Open in a New Window

Despite evidence for heritable variation in cannabis involvement and the discovery of cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands, no consistent patterns have emerged from candidate endocannabinoid (eCB) genetic association studies of cannabis involvement. Given interactions between eCB and stress systems and associations between childhood stress and cannabis involvement, it may be important to consider childhood adversity in the context of eCB-related genetic variation. We employed a system-level gene-based analysis of data from the Comorbidity and Trauma Study (N = 1,558) to examine whether genetic variation in six eCB genes (anabolism: DAGLA, DAGLB, NAPEPLD; catabolism: MGLL, FAAH; binding: CNR1; SNPs N = 65) and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) predict cannabis dependence symptoms. Significant interactions with CSA emerged for MGLL at the gene level (p = .009), and for rs604300 within MGLL (ΔR2 = .007, p < .001), the latter of which survived SNP-level Bonferroni correction and was significant in an additional sample with similar directional effects (N = 859; ΔR2 = .005, p = .026). Furthermore, in a third sample (N = 312), there was evidence that rs604300 genotype interacts with early life adversity to predict threat-related basolateral amygdala habituation, a neural phenotype linked to the eCB system and addiction (ΔR2 = .013, p = .047). Rs604300 may be related to epigenetic modulation of MGLL expression. These results are consistent with rodent models implicating 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), an endogenous cannabinoid metabolized by the enzyme encoded by MGLL, in the etiology of stress adaptation related to cannabis dependence, but require further replication. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Blunted neural response to rewards as a vulnerability factor for depression: Results from a family study.Open in a New Window

Depressive disorders are associated with significant economic and public health burdens as well as increased morbidity. Yet, perhaps due to the heterogeneous nature of the disease, prevention and intervention efforts are only moderately efficacious. A better understanding of core mechanisms of depressive disorders might aid in the development of more targeted intervention, and perhaps help identify individuals at risk. One mechanism that may be particularly important to depressive phenotypes is reward insensitivity. Examination of neurobiological correlates of reward-processing, which should relate more directly to the neuropathology of depression, may be helpful in identifying liability for the disorder. To that end, we used a family study design to examine whether a neural response to rewards is a familial risk factor for depression in a sample of probands with a wide range of internalizing psychopathology, as well as their biological siblings. Event-related potentials were recorded during a simple forced-choice gambling paradigm, in which participants could either win or lose small amounts of money. Lower levels of positive affect in probands predicted a reduced neural response to rewards in siblings, even over and above the sibling’s own level of positive and negative affect. Additionally, the neural response to rewards was familial (i.e., correlated among siblings). Combined, these analyses suggest that a blunted neural response to rewards may be useful in identifying individuals vulnerable to depressive illnesses. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Elevated striatal reactivity across monetary and social rewards in bipolar I disorder.Open in a New Window

Bipolar disorder (BD) is associated with increased reactivity to rewards and heightened positive affectivity. It is less clear to what extent this heightened reward sensitivity is evident across contexts and what the associated neural mechanisms might be. The present investigation used both a monetary and social incentive delay task among adults with remitted BD Type I (n = 24) and a healthy nonpsychiatric control group (HC; n = 25) using fMRI. Both whole-brain and region-of-interest analyses revealed elevated reactivity to reward receipt in the striatum, a region implicated in incentive sensitivity, in the BD group. Post hoc analyses revealed that greater striatal reactivity to reward receipt, across monetary and social reward tasks, predicted decreased self-reported positive affect when anticipating subsequent rewards in the HC but not in the BD group. Results point toward elevated striatal reactivity to reward receipt as a potential neural mechanism of persistent reward pursuit in BD. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Visual false memories in posttraumatic stress disorder.Open in a New Window

This study investigated visual false memories in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Scenic False Memory paradigm (SFM, Hauschildt, Peters, Jelinek, & Moritz, 2012) was administered to male Iranian military personnel who had participated in the Iran–Iraq war and were diagnosed with (n = 21) or without (n = 21) PTSD and a sample of healthy male non-trauma-exposed controls (n = 21). Trauma-exposed participants recalled and recognized a significantly lower percentage of hits and a significantly greater percentage of false memories for both trauma-related and non-trauma-related video scenes, than non-trauma-exposed controls. Among the trauma-exposed participants, those with and without PTSD did not differ significantly in terms of percentage of hits and false memories recalled on the SFM. Those with PTSD were found to recognize significantly fewer hits for both the trauma-related and non-trauma-related videos than those without PTSD. Those with PTSD also recognized significantly more false memories for the trauma video scene than the non-PTSD group. The findings suggest that those with trauma exposure, and in particular those with PTSD, may have a greater susceptibility to visual false memory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Chronic and episodic interpersonal stress as statistically unique predictors of depression in two samples of emerging adults.Open in a New Window

Few studies comprehensively evaluate which types of life stress are most strongly associated with depressive episode onsets, over and above other forms of stress, and comparisons between acute and chronic stress are particularly lacking. Past research implicates major (moderate to severe) stressful life events (SLEs), and to a lesser extent, interpersonal forms of stress; research conflicts on whether dependent or independent SLEs are more potent, but theory favors dependent SLEs. The present study used 5 years of annual diagnostic and life stress interviews of chronic stress and SLEs from 2 separate samples (Sample 1 N = 432; Sample 2 N = 146) transitioning into emerging adulthood; 1 sample also collected early adversity interviews. Multivariate analyses simultaneously examined multiple forms of life stress to test hypotheses that all major SLEs, then particularly interpersonal forms of stress, and then dependent SLEs would contribute unique variance to major depressive episode (MDE) onsets. Person-month survival analysis consistently implicated chronic interpersonal stress and major interpersonal SLEs as statistically unique predictors of risk for MDE onset. In addition, follow-up analyses demonstrated temporal precedence for chronic stress; tested differences by gender; showed that recent chronic stress mediates the relationship between adolescent adversity and later MDE onsets; and revealed interactions of several forms of stress with socioeconomic status (SES). Specifically, as SES declined, there was an increasing role for noninterpersonal chronic stress and noninterpersonal major SLEs, coupled with a decreasing role for interpersonal chronic stress. Implications for future etiological research were discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Prospective associations of low positive emotionality with first onsets of depressive and anxiety disorders: Results from a 10-wave latent trait-state modeling study.Open in a New Window

Unipolar depressive disorders and anxiety disorders co-occur at high rates and can be difficult to distinguish from one another. Cross-sectional evidence has demonstrated that whereas all these disorders are characterized by high negative emotion, low positive emotion shows specificity in its associations with depressive disorders, social anxiety disorder, and possibly generalized anxiety disorder. However, it remains unknown whether low positive emotionality, a personality trait characterized by the tendency to experience low positive emotion over time, prospectively marks risk for the initial development of these disorders. We aimed to help address this gap. Each year for up to 10 waves, participants (n = 627, mean age = 17 years at baseline) completed self-report measures of mood and personality and a structured clinical interview. A latent trait-state decomposition technique was used to model positive emotionality and related personality traits over the first 3 years of the study. Survival analyses were used to test the prospective associations of low positive emotionality with first onsets of disorders over the subsequent 6-year follow-up among participants with no relevant disorder history. The results showed that low positive emotionality was a risk marker for depressive disorders, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, although evidence for its specificity to these disorders versus the remaining anxiety disorders was inconclusive. Additional analyses revealed that the risk effects were largely accounted for by the overlap of low positive emotionality with neuroticism. The implications for understanding the role of positive emotionality in depressive disorders and anxiety disorders are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Low social rhythm regularity predicts first onset of bipolar spectrum disorders among at-risk individuals with reward hypersensitivity.Open in a New Window

The social zeitgeber model (Ehlers, Frank, & Kupfer, 1988) suggests that irregular daily schedules or social rhythms provide vulnerability to bipolar spectrum disorders. This study tested whether social rhythm regularity prospectively predicted first lifetime onset of bipolar spectrum disorders in adolescents already at risk for bipolar disorder based on exhibiting reward hypersensitivity. Adolescents (ages 14–19 years) previously screened to have high (n = 138) or moderate (n = 95) reward sensitivity, but no lifetime history of bipolar spectrum disorder, completed measures of depressive and manic symptoms, family history of bipolar disorder, and the Social Rhythm Metric. They were followed prospectively with semistructured diagnostic interviews every 6 months for an average of 31.7 (SD = 20.1) months. Hierarchical logistic regression indicated that low social rhythm regularity at baseline predicted greater likelihood of first onset of bipolar spectrum disorder over follow-up among high-reward-sensitivity adolescents but not moderate-reward-sensitivity adolescents, controlling for follow-up time, gender, age, family history of bipolar disorder, and initial manic and depressive symptoms (β = −.150, Wald = 4.365, p = .037, odds ratio = .861, 95% confidence interval [.748, .991]). Consistent with the social zeitgeber theory, low social rhythm regularity provides vulnerability to first onset of bipolar spectrum disorder among at-risk adolescents. It may be possible to identify adolescents at risk for developing a bipolar spectrum disorder based on exhibiting both reward hypersensitivity and social rhythm irregularity before onset occurs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Visual context processing dysfunctions in youth at high risk for psychosis: Resistance to the Ebbinghaus illusion and its symptom and social and role functioning correlates.Open in a New Window

Impaired visual context processing is closely linked with expression of symptoms in people with psychosis. However, to date, there have been no investigations of this phenomenon in the critical ultra high-risk (UHR) period immediately preceding the onset of psychosis. In total, 73 participants (33 UHR, 40 control) were evaluated with clinical and global functioning interviews and with a computerized task that required comparing the size of 2 target circles. Targets could appear by themselves (no-context condition), or within a context that made size judgment easier (helpful condition) or more difficult (misleading condition). Susceptibility to illusion was measured as the accuracy differences between the no-context and the helpful (i.e., helpful-index) and the misleading (i.e., misleading-index) conditions. Both groups exhibited approximately the same percentage of accurate responses to the no-context condition. However, the UHR subjects exhibited significantly less susceptibility to the illusion, performing superior to controls on the misleading index. The UHR group also showed less susceptibility on the helpful index, but this was not significant. Lower susceptibility on the misleading index was associated with increased negative symptoms and role functioning at a trend level. Lower susceptibility on the helpful index was significantly associated with increased negative symptoms and both poor role and social functioning. These results indicate that visual context processing is impaired during the UHR period, and is related to core illness features, suggesting that this task may be a useful biomarker in studies of UHR participants. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Decision processes and the slowing of simple choices in schizophrenia.Open in a New Window

Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia have slowed response times (RT). We examined the role of decision processes in the slowing of simple choice responses. We updated Schatz’s (1998) meta-analysis of deficits in speed and extend it to systematically examine the effects of schizophrenia on choice accuracy. We then report an experiment requiring decisions about motion direction, which we analyzed using an evidence accumulation model of choice, the linear ballistic accumulator (LBA; Brown & Heathcote, 2008). By simultaneously taking into account all aspects of behavior, the LBA was more sensitive to deficits than mean RT or accuracy alone. It also identified the 2 underlying causes of slowing: more cautious decisions (i.e., requiring more evidence before making a decision) and perceptual deficits. The schizophrenia group displayed strong sequential effects that were captured by the response on the previous trial affecting the relative amount of evidence required for choice in the LBA. These results illustrate that evidence accumulation models provide a sensitive tool that can be used to identify the cognitive mechanisms causing slowing in schizophrenia. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Borderline personality disorder symptoms and newlyweds’ observed communication, partner characteristics, and longitudinal marital outcomes.Open in a New Window

Given borderline personality disorder’s (BPD) relation with interpersonal dysfunction, there is substantial interest in understanding BPD’s effect on marriage. The current study used data from a community sample of 172 newlywed couples to examine spouses’ BPD symptoms in relation to their observed communication, partner BPD symptoms, 4-year marital quality trajectories, and 10-year divorce rates. BPD symptoms were correlated cross-sectionally with more negative skills during observational problem-solving and social support tasks, and spouses reporting more BPD symptoms were married to partners reporting more BPD symptoms. Longitudinally, hierarchical linear modeling of newlyweds’ 4-year marital trajectories indicated that BPD symptoms predicted the intercept of marital quality for spouses and their partners, reflecting lower levels of marital satisfaction and higher levels of marital problems. BPD symptoms did not predict 10-year divorce rates. These findings highlight the chronic relationship impairment associated with BPD symptoms, indicate that distress begins early in marriage, and suggest that partners with higher levels of BPD symptoms remain in more troubled marriages. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


A behavioral genetic analysis of callous-unemotional traits and Big Five personality in adolescence.Open in a New Window

Callous-unemotional (CU) traits, such as lacking empathy and emotional insensitivity, predict the onset, severity, and persistence of antisocial behavior. CU traits are heritable, and genetic influences on CU traits contribute to antisocial behavior. This study examines genetic overlap between CU traits and general domains of personality. We measured CU traits using the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU) and Big Five personality using the Big Five Inventory in a sample of adolescent twins from the Texas Twin Project. Genetic influences on the Big Five personality dimensions could account for the entirety of genetic influences on CU traits. Item Response Theory results indicate that the Inventory of Callous and Unemotional Traits is better at detecting clinically relevant personality variation at lower extremes of personality trait continua, particularly low agreeableness and low conscientiousness. The proximate biological mechanisms that mediate genetic liabilities for CU traits remain an open question. The results of the current study suggest that understanding the development of normal personality may inform understanding of the genetic underpinnings of callous and unemotional behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Weight suppression in bulimia nervosa: Associations with biology and behavior.Open in a New Window

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is a serious eating disorder that can persist for years and contribute to medical complications and increased mortality, underscoring the need to better understand factors maintaining this disorder. Higher levels of weight suppression (WS) have been found to predict both the onset and maintenance of BN; however, no studies have examined mechanisms that may account for the effects of WS on BN. We hypothesized that high WS would lead to reduced leptin levels, which may increase risk of binge eating by modulating reward responses to food. The current study examined the relationship between WS, leptin levels, and the reinforcing value of food in women with BN (n = 32) and noneating disorder controls (n = 30). Participants provided information on WS, completed a fasting blood draw to obtain serum leptin, and completed a progressive ratio task to measure the reinforcing value of food. Individuals with BN had greater WS (p < .01) and reinforcing food value (p < .05) compared with controls. Additionally, higher WS was associated with both lower leptin (p < .05) and increased reinforcing value of food (p < .05). Contrary to hypotheses, BN and control participants did not differ on leptin levels, and leptin levels were not significantly associated with the reinforcing value of food. Findings support that efforts to conform to the thin ideal may alter drive to consume rewarding foods and leave women vulnerable to binge episodes. However, mechanisms through which WS contributes to food reward and binge eating remain unknown. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Bulimic symptom onset in young girls: A longitudinal trajectory analysis.Open in a New Window

To investigate whether there are different patterns of development for binge eating and purging behavior among preadolescent and early adolescent girls, we conducted trajectory analyses of those behaviors in 938 girls across 8 waves of data from the spring of 5th grade (the last year of elementary school) through the spring of 9th grade (the first year of high school). Analyses revealed 4 separate developmental trajectories for binge eating behavior (labeled none, increasing, decreasing, and high steady) and 3 separate developmental trajectories for purging behavior (labeled none, dabble, and increasing). Fifth grade scores on risk factors that were both transdiagnostic (negative affect and negative urgency) and eating disorder specific (expectancies for reinforcement from eating and from thinness) differentiated among the trajectory groups, in some cases before the groups differed in the target behaviors. These findings are the first, to our knowledge, to examine developmental trajectories for bulimic symptom onset in youth as young as elementary school. Clinical implications are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Atypical working memory decline across the adult lifespan in autism spectrum disorder?Open in a New Window

Whereas working memory (WM) performance in typical development increases across childhood and adolescence, and decreases during adulthood, WM development seems to be delayed in young individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). How WM changes when individuals with ASD grow old is largely unknown. We bridge this gap with a cross-sectional study comparing age-related patterns in WM performance (n-back task: 3 load levels) among a large sample of individuals with and without ASD (N = 275) over the entire adult life span (19–79 years) as well as interindividual differences therein. Results demonstrated that, despite longer RTs, adults with ASD showed similar WM performance to adults without ASD. Age-related differences appeared to be different among adults with and without ASD as adults without ASD showed an age-related decline in WM performance, which was not so evident in adults with ASD. Moreover, only IQ scores reliably dissociated interindividual differences in age-gradients, but no evidence was found for a role of basic demographics, comorbidities, and executive functions. These findings provide initial insights into how ASD modulates cognitive aging, but also underline the need for further WM research into late adulthood in ASD and for analyzing individual change trajectories in longitudinal studies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Developmental trajectories of aggression, prosocial behavior, and social–cognitive problem solving in emerging adolescents with clinically elevated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms.Open in a New Window

Middle school is a critical yet understudied period of social behavioral risks and opportunities that may be particularly difficult for emerging adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) given their childhood social difficulties. Relatively few ADHD studies have examined social behavior and social-cognitive problem solving beyond the elementary years, or examined aspects of positive (prosocial) behavior. The current study examined how middle school students with clinically elevated ADHD symptoms differ from their non-ADHD peers on baseline (6th grade) and age-related changes in prosocial and aggressive behavior, and the extent to which social-cognitive problem solving strategies mediate these relations. Emerging adolescents with (n = 178) and without (n = 3,806) clinically elevated, teacher-reported ADHD-combined symptoms were compared longitudinally across 6th through 8th grades using parallel process latent growth curve modeling, accounting for student demographic characteristics, oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD) symptoms, deviant peer association, school climate, and parental monitoring. Sixth graders with elevated ADHD symptoms engaged in somewhat fewer prosocial behaviors (d = −0.44) and more aggressive behavior (d = 0.20) relative to their peers. These small social behavioral deficits decreased but were not normalized across the middle school years. Contrary to hypotheses, social-cognitive problem solving was not impaired in the ADHD group after accounting for co-occurring ODD symptoms and did not mediate the association between ADHD and social behavior during the middle school years. ADHD and social-cognitive problem solving contributed independently to social behavior, both in 6th grade and across the middle school years; the influence of social-cognitive problem solving on social behavior was highly similar for the ADHD and non-ADHD groups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Interactions between DRD4 and developmentally specific environments in alcohol-dependence symptoms.Open in a New Window

Social experiences may moderate genetic influences on alcohol dependence (AD) symptoms. Consistent with this hypothesis, Park, Sher, Todorov, and Heath (2011) previously reported interactions between the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) and developmentally specific environments in the etiology of AD symptoms during emerging and young adulthood. Using a longitudinal cohort of n = 367 White participants followed from ages 18 to 27 years, we examine a series of similar interactions between DRD4 and developmentally sensitive contexts including childhood adversity and work and family roles. In contrast to previous results, we observed no significant interactions between DRD4 and childhood adversity. Overall, results further highlight the need for longitudinal studies of Gene × Environment interaction in the behavioral sciences and the difficulty of identifying candidate Gene × Environment interaction effects that are consistent across studies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


A multilevel structural equation model of within- and between-person associations among subjective responses to alcohol, craving, and laboratory alcohol self-administration.Open in a New Window

Subjective responses to alcohol are important determinants of drinking behavior and have been linked with risk for alcohol use disorders. However, few attempts have been made to examine proximal within-person associations among state changes in subjective responses and ongoing alcohol self-administration in the laboratory. This study disaggregated within- and between-person associations among subjective responses and alcohol self-administration, while also examining the mediating role of craving and the moderating role of trait impaired control over alcohol. Sixty young heavy drinkers (mean age = 19.90, SD = 0.86) completed self-report measures including the Impaired Control Scale, then participated in a 2-hr intravenous alcohol self-administration session using the Computer-Assisted Self-infusion of Ethanol (CASE) paradigm. Repeated assessments of subjective stimulation, subjective sedation, and craving were examined in relation to ongoing in-session self-administration, as indexed by breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) assessed 15 min later. Multilevel structural equation modeling was used to isolate within-person and between-person associations. The results showed few significant associations at the between-person level, except for a direct negative association between sedation and BrAC. At the within-person level, state fluctuations in stimulation were positively associated with both craving and subsequent BrAC, whereas state changes in sedation were negatively associated with craving and positively associated with BrAC. Within-person indirect associations from subjective stimulation and sedation to subsequent BrAC mediated via craving were statistically significant. Also, participants higher on impaired control showed stronger within-person associations between craving and greater subsequent BrAC. The results suggest that subjective responses to alcohol and craving have proximal associations with self-administration behavior, the strength of which is linked with trait impaired control over alcohol. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


The hierarchical structure of common mental disorders: Connecting multiple levels of comorbidity, bifactor models, and predictive validity.Open in a New Window

Studies of mental disorder comorbidity have produced an unsynthesized literature with multiple competing transdiagnostic models. The current study attempted to (a) integrate these models into an overarching comorbidity hierarchy, (b) link the resulting transdiagnostic factors to the bifactor model of psychopathology, and (c) investigate predictive validity of transdiagnostic factors for important future outcomes. A series of exploratory structural equation models (ESEMs) was conducted on 12 common mental disorders from a large, 2-wave nationally representative sample, using the bass-ackwards method to explore the hierarchical structure of transdiagnostic comorbidity factors. These Wave 1 factors were then linked with the bifactor model and with mental disorders at Wave 2. Results indicated that common mental disorder comorbidity was structured into an interpretable hierarchy. Connections between the hierarchy’s general factor of psychopathology (denoted p), internalizing, and distress were very strong; these factors also linked strongly with the bifactor model’s p factor. Predictive validity analyses prospectively predicting subsequent diagnoses indicated that, overall: (a) transdiagnostic factors outperformed disorder-specific variance; (b) within hierarchy levels, transdiagnostic factors where disorders optimally loaded outperformed other transdiagnostic factors, but this differed by disorder type; and (c) between hierarchy levels, transdiagnostic factors where disorders optimally loaded showed similar predictive validity. We discuss implications for hierarchical structure modeling, the integration of multiple competing comorbidity models, and benefits of transdiagnostic factors for understanding the continuity of mental disorders over time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Functional coherence of insula networks is associated with externalizing behavior.Open in a New Window

The externalizing spectrum encompasses a range of maladaptive behaviors, including substance-use problems, impulsivity, and aggression. Although previous literature has linked externalizing behaviors with prefrontal and amygdala abnormalities, recent studies suggest insula functionality is implicated. This study investigated the relation between insula functional coherence and externalizing in a large community sample (N = 244). Participants underwent a resting functional MRI scan. Three nonartifactual intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs) substantially involving the insula were identified after completing independent components analysis. Three externalizing domains—general disinhibition, substance abuse, and callous aggression—were measured with the Externalizing Spectrum Inventory. Regression models tested whether within-network coherence for the 3 insula ICNs was related to each externalizing domain. Posterior insula coherence was positively associated with general disinhibition and substance abuse. Anterior insula/ventral striatum/anterior cingulate network coherence was negatively associated with general disinhibition. Insula coherence did not relate to the callous aggression domain. Follow-up analyses indicated specificity for insula ICNs in their relation to general disinhibition and substance abuse as compared with other frontal and limbic ICNs. This study found insula network coherence was significantly associated with externalizing behaviors in community participants. Frontal and limbic ICNs containing less insular cortex were not related to externalizing. Thus, the neural synchrony of insula networks may be central for understanding externalizing psychopathology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Validating psychological classification criteria in the context of somatoform disorders: A one- and four-year follow-up.Open in a New Window

When revising the former somatoform diagnoses to somatic symptom disorders, DSM–5 introduced psychological classification criteria in addition to somatic symptoms. The authors investigated the relevance of these and further cognitive, affective, and behavioral features as well as their predictive value concerning (a) somatic symptoms that are not better explained by a general medical condition (MUS) and somatoform disorders (SD), (b) impairment, and (c) health care utilization. A general population sample of 321 participants (M = 47.0 years, 63% women) was interviewed at baseline and reinterviewed 1 year (N = 244) and 4 years (N = 219) later. The authors assessed a list of 49 somatic complaints including medical causes, the symptom-related subjective impairment, doctor visits during the previous 12 months, depressive/anxiety disorders (SCID), and 9 psychological features with potential use for classification. Most psychological features were more frequent in subjects with SD compared to nonsufferers. Reassurance seeking, body checking, a self-concept of bodily weakness, catastrophizing of physical sensations, avoidance of physical activities, and negative affectivity incrementally predicted medium- and long-term standard deviation: The odds ranged from 2.4 to 9.8 (95% confidence intevals: [1.1, 5.0], [1.7–57.9]), with up to 90% correct predictions for the overall model. Lower somatic symptom attribution and higher health anxiety were incremental predictors of the number of MUS after 4 years. Long-term impairment and health care use were not incrementally predicted by psychological features. To conclude, psychological criteria showed relevance and predictive value for the classification of somatoform symptoms. Therefore, the inclusion seems warranted, although the DSM–5 selection of psychological features needs further investigation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


Metacognitive impairments in schizophrenia are arrested at extreme levels of psychopathy: The cut-off effect.Open in a New Window

Psychopathy and metacognitive difficulties have been associated with the occurrence of violence in schizophrenia. However, evidence suggests that nonschizophrenic psychopaths match or even outperform healthy controls on tests of metacognition. We hypothesize that the metacognitive difficulties associated with schizophrenia may be ameliorated by comorbid psychopathy. To this end, metacognition (using the Metacognition Assessment Scale-Abbreviated [MAS-A]) and psychopathy (using the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised [PCL-R]) are assessed in 79 patients with schizophrenia with a history of criminal offending. Piecewise regression reveals that the association between metacognition and psychopathy changes from a negative to a positive association at a breakpoint corresponding to a score of 24 on the PCL-R. This score is within the range of the cut-off point used for the diagnosis of psychopathy in Europe, which corresponds to a score of 26 on the PCL-R. The patients scoring above 24 on the PCL-R demonstrated better overall metacognitive abilities, suggesting that these patients constitute a specific group in which schizophrenia has an attenuated impairing effect on metacognition. However, this effect was absent for the Mastery subscale of the MAS-A, which refers to the ability to use one’s own mental states to solve social and psychological dilemmas. Our results suggest that the relative preservation of metacognitive abilities in schizophrenic patients with extreme levels of psychopathy may contribute to their offending behavior as it may enable them to understand how to manipulate and extort their victims. However, enhancing the Mastery domain of metacognition in these patients may attenuate this offending behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)


The link between nonsuicidal self-injury and acquired capability for suicide: A longitudinal study.Open in a New Window

Despite recent findings that nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a strong predictor of suicide attempts, little empirical attention has been given to the mechanism through which NSSI increases suicide risk. The present 2-wave longitudinal study represents the first critical test of Joiner’s (2005) hypothesis that NSSI is linked to lower pain sensitivity and fear of death over time (i.e., NSSI leads to acquired capability for suicide). Undergraduate students (N = 782) at a midsized Canadian university completed measures of NSSI and acquired capability for suicide at 2 time points (1 year apart). Path analyses revealed that higher frequency of NSSI engagement in the past year was associated with greater acquired capability for suicide 1 year later, and that this link was unidirectional. This study provides the first longitudinal evidence that a potential mechanism for the link between NSSI and suicide attempts may be acquired capability for suicide, and suggests that targeting NSSI engagement could help to prevent individuals from acquiring the ability to enact more lethal forms of self-injury. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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