Task-Related Connectivity, Amygdala Volume, and Attentional Control in Anxious Adolescents
Anxiety is an incapacitating disorder affecting millions of people that emerges early in life. Past research has focused primarily on behavioral and neurophysiological differences in children and adults and has only recently begun to utilize imaging techniques to study the anxious brain. Much of this literature has focused on the role of the amygdala. However, relatively little is known about the behavior of neural correlates of anxiety during adolescence. This study explored the relationships among task-related functional connectivity, amygdala volume, and negative bias in attention in a community sample of adolescents whose symptoms of anxiety had been measured longitudinally. We found correlations between right amygdala volume and negative bias, and different amygdala-frontal networks showed more or less functional connectivity in more anxious participants. We conclude that some networks are inhibited in anxious adolescents while others are compensatory, and negative bias may be a precursor to more notable symptoms of anxiety.