Early Life Adversity Predicts Reduced Hippocampal Volume in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study

Florence J. Breslin, Kara L. Kerr, Erin L. Ratliff, Zsofia P. Cohen, W. Kyle Simmons, Amanda S. Morris, Julie M. Croff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Cross-sectional studies in adults have demonstrated associations between early life adversity (ELA) and reduced hippocampal volume, but the timing of these effects is not clear. The present study sought to examine whether ELA predicts changes in hippocampal volume over time in a large sample of early adolescents. Methods: The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study provides a large dataset of tabulated neuroimaging, youth-reported adverse experiences, and parent-reported financial adversity from a sample of children around the United States. Linear mixed effects modeling was used to determine the relationship between ELA and hippocampal volume change within youth (n = 7036) from ages 9–10 to 11–12 years. Results: Results of the models indicated that the number of early adverse events predicted bilateral hippocampal volume change (β = −0.02, t = −2.02, p < .05). Higher adversity was associated with lower hippocampal volume at Baseline (t = 5.55, p < .01) and at Year 2 (t = 6.14, p < .001). Discussion: These findings suggest that ELA may affect hippocampal development during early adolescence. Prevention and early intervention are needed to alter the course of this trajectory. Future work should examine associations between ELA, hippocampal development, and educational and socioemotional outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume75
Issue number2
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • ABCD
  • Adolescent
  • Adversity
  • Hippocampus
  • Neurodevelopment

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