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Thinning of the lateral prefrontal cortex during adolescence predicts emotion regulation in females

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journal contribution
posted on 01.11.2014, 00:00 authored by Nandi VijayakumarNandi Vijayakumar, S Whittle, M Yücel, M Dennison, J Simmons, N B Allen
© The Author (2014). Published by Oxford University Press. Adolescence is a crucial period for the development of adaptive emotion regulation strategies. Despite the fact that structural maturation of the prefrontal cortex during adolescence is often assumed to underlie the maturation of emotion regulation strategies, no longitudinal studies have directly assessed this relationship. This study examined whether use of cognitive reappraisal strategies during late adolescence was predicted by (i) absolute prefrontal cortical thickness during early adolescence and (ii) structural maturation of the prefrontal cortex between early and mid-adolescence. Ninety-two adolescents underwent baseline and follow-up magnetic resonance imaging scans when they were aged approximately 12 and 16 years, respectively. FreeSurfer software was used to obtain cortical thickness estimates for three prefrontal regions [anterior cingulate cortex; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC); ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC)]. The Emotion Regulation Questionnaire was completed when adolescents were aged approximately 19 years. Results showed that greater cortical thinning of the left dlPFC and left vlPFC during adolescence was significantly associated with greater use of cognitive reappraisal in females, though no such relationship was evident in males. Furthermore, baseline left dlPFC thickness predicted cognitive reappraisal at trend level. These findings suggest that cortical maturation may play a role in the development of adaptive emotion regulation strategies during adolescence.

History

Journal

Social cognitive and affective neuroscience

Volume

9

Issue

11

Pagination

1845 - 1854

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Location

Oxford, Eng.

ISSN

1749-5016

eISSN

1749-5024

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, The Authors