Trait positive affect is associated with hippocampal volume and change in caudate volume across adolescence.

Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience

PubMedID: 25231241

Dennison M, Whittle S, Yücel M, Byrne ML, Schwartz O, Simmons JG, Allen NB. Trait positive affect is associated with hippocampal volume and change in caudate volume across adolescence. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2014;.
Trait positive affect (PA) in childhood confers both risk and resilience to psychological and behavioral difficulties in adolescence, although explanations for this association are lacking. Neurodevelopment in key areas associated with positive affect is ongoing throughout adolescence, and is likely to be related to the increased incidence of disorders of positive affect during this period of development. The aim of this study was to prospectively explore the relationship between trait indices of PA and brain development in subcortical reward regions during early to mid-adolescence in a community sample of adolescents. A total of 89 (46 male, 43 female) adolescents participated in magnetic resonance imaging assessments during both early and mid-adolescence (mean age at baseline = 12.6 years, SD = 0.45; mean follow-up period = 3.78 years, SD = 0.21) and also completed self-report measures of trait positive and negative affect (at baseline). To examine the specificity of these effects, the relation between negative affect and brain development was also examined. The degree of volume reduction in the right caudate over time was predicted by PA. Independent of time, larger hippocampal volumes were associated with higher PA, and negative affect was associated with smaller left amygdala volume. The moderating effect of negative affect on the development of the left caudate varied as a function of lifetime psychiatric history. These findings suggest that early to mid-adolescence is an important period whereby neurodevelopmental processes may underlie key phenotypes conferring both risk and resilience for emotional and behavioral difficulties later in life.