Background Neurophysiological patterns may distinguish which youth are at risk for the well-documented increase in internalizing symptoms during adolescence. Adolescents with internalizing problems exhibit altered resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) of brain regions involved in socio-affective processing. Whether connectivity-based biotypes differentiate adolescents' levels of internalizing problems remains unknown. Method Sixty-eight adolescents (37 females) reported on their internalizing problems at ages 14, 16, and 18 years. A resting-state functional neuroimaging scan was collected at age 16. Time-series data of 15 internalizing-relevant brain regions were entered into the Subgroup-Group Iterative Multi-Model Estimation program to identify subgroups based on RSFC maps. Associations between internalizing problems and connectivity-based biotypes were tested with regression analyses. Results Two connectivity-based biotypes were found: a Diffusely-connected biotype (N = 46), with long-range fronto-parietal paths, and a Hyper-connected biotype (N = 22), with paths between subcortical and medial frontal areas (e.g. affective and default-mode network regions). Higher levels of past (age 14) internalizing problems predicted a greater likelihood of belonging to the Hyper-connected biotype at age 16. The Hyper-connected biotype showed higher levels of concurrent problems (age 16) and future (age 18) internalizing problems. Conclusions Differential patterns of RSFC among socio-affective brain regions were predicted by earlier internalizing problems and predicted future internalizing problems in adolescence. Measuring connectivity-based biotypes in adolescence may offer insight into which youth face an elevated risk for internalizing disorders during this critical developmental period.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health