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Associations Between Resting State Functional Connectivity and a Hierarchical Dimensional Structure of Psychopathology in Middle Childhood

By Nicole R. Karcher, Giorgia Michelini, Roman Kotov, Deanna M. Barch

Posted 30 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.28.065086 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2020.09.008)

Background: Previous research from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study delineated and validated a hierarchical 5-factor structure with a general psychopathology (p) factor at the apex and five specific factors (internalizing, somatoform, detachment, neurodevelopmental, externalizing) using parent-reported child symptoms. The current study is the first examining associations between dimensions from a hierarchical structure and resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) networks. Methods: Using 9-11-year-old children from the ABCD baseline sample, we compared the variance explained by each hierarchy level (p factor, 2-factor, 3-factor, 4-factor, and 5-factor models) in RSFC. Analyses were first conducted in a discovery dataset (n=3790) with significant associations examined in a replication dataset (n=3791). Results: The current study found associations between p factor and lower connectivity within default mode network (DMN), although stronger effects emerged for the neurodevelopmental factor. Neurodevelopmental impairments were related to variation in RSFC networks associated with attention to internal states and external stimuli. These networks included within DMN, DMN with cingulo-opercular (CON) and Other (Unassigned) networks, CON with ventral attention and Other network, and dorsal attention with Other network. Results held when accounting for parental psychopathology. Conclusion: The hierarchical structure of psychopathology showed replicable links to RSFC alterations in middle childhood. The p factor had minimal association with altered connectivity, while the specific neurodevelopmental dimension showed robust associations with multiple RSFC impairments. Results show the utility of examining associations between intrinsic brain architecture and specific dimensions of psychopathology, revealing associations specifically with neurodevelopmental impairments. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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