Socioeconomic deprivation in early life and symptoms of depression and anxiety in young adulthood: Mediating role of hippocampal connectivity


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Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Psychological Medicine
MU Faculty or unit

Central European Institute of Technology

Keywords anxiety; depression; fMRI; sex differences
Description Background Experience of early-life socioeconomic deprivation (ELSD) may increase the risk of mental disorders in young adulthood. This association may be mediated by structural and functional alterations of the hippocampus. Methods We conducted a prospective cohort study on 122 participants of the European Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood. Information about ELSD was collected via questionnaire from mothers during the first 18 months of participants' lives. At age 23-24, participants underwent examination by structural magnetic resonance imaging, resting-state functional connectivity and assessment of depressive symptoms (Mood and Feelings Questionnaire) and anxiety (Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory). The association of ELSD with brain outcomes in young adulthood was assessed with correlations, linear regression (adjusting for sex, socioeconomic position and mother's mental health) and moderated mediation analysis. Results Higher ELSD was associated with greater depressive symptoms (B = 0.22; p = 0.001), trait anxiety (B = 0.07; p = 0.02) and lower global connectivity of the right hippocampus (B =-0.01; p = 0.02). These associations persisted when adjusted for covariates. In women, lower global connectivity of the right hippocampus was associated with stronger trait anxiety (B =-4.14; p = 0.01). Global connectivity of the right hippocampus as well as connectivity between the right hippocampus and the left middle temporal gyrus mediated the association between ELSD and trait anxiety in women. Higher ELSD correlated with a lower volume of the right hippocampus in men, but the volume of the right hippocampus was not related to mental health. Conclusions Early preventive strategies targeted at children from socioeconomically deprived families may yield long-lasting benefits for the mental health of the population. © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press.
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