Observed Measures of Negative Parenting Predict Brain Development during Adolescence
AuthorWhittle, S; Vijayakumar, N; Dennison, M; Schwartz, O; Simmons, JG; Sheeber, L; Allen, NB
Source TitlePLoS One
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sWhittle, Sarah; Simmons, Julian; Dennison, Megan; Allen, Nicholas; Schwartz, Orli
AffiliationCentre for Youth Mental Health
Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsWhittle, S., Vijayakumar, N., Dennison, M., Schwartz, O., Simmons, J. G., Sheeber, L. & Allen, N. B. (2016). Observed Measures of Negative Parenting Predict Brain Development during Adolescence. PLOS ONE, 11 (1), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0147774.
Access StatusOpen Access
Limited attention has been directed toward the influence of non-abusive parenting behaviour on brain structure in adolescents. It has been suggested that environmental influences during this period are likely to impact the way that the brain develops over time. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between aggressive and positive parenting behaviors on brain development from early to late adolescence, and in turn, psychological and academic functioning during late adolescence, using a multi-wave longitudinal design. Three hundred and sixty seven magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were obtained over three time points from 166 adolescents (11-20 years). At the first time point, observed measures of maternal aggressive and positive behaviors were obtained. At the final time point, measures of psychological and academic functioning were obtained. Results indicated that a higher frequency of maternal aggressive behavior was associated with alterations in the development of right superior frontal and lateral parietal cortical thickness, and of nucleus accumbens volume, in males. Development of the superior frontal cortex in males mediated the relationship between maternal aggressive behaviour and measures of late adolescent functioning. We suggest that our results support an association between negative parenting and adolescent functioning, which may be mediated by immature or delayed brain maturation.
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