Abstract

Recent research has reported effects of socioeconomic status on neurobehavioral development as early as infancy, including positive associations between income and brain structure, functional connectivity, and behavior later in childhood (Ramphal, Whalen, et al., 2020; Triplett et al., 2022). This study extends this literature by investigating the relation of maternal prenatal social disadvantage (PSD) to neonatal amygdala and hippocampus functional connectivity and whether socioeconomic-related alterations in functional connectivity subsequently predict behavior at age 12 months in a large, socioeconomically diverse sample (N = 261 mother–infant dyads). PSD was assessed across gestation; neonatal magnetic resonance imaging was completed within the first weeks of life; and infant internalizing and externalizing symptoms were evaluated using the Infant–Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment at age 12 months. The results showed that PSD was significantly related to neonatal right amygdala and left hippocampus functional connectivity with prefrontal and motor-related regions. Social disadvantagerelated right amygdala and left hippocampus functional connectivity with these regions was subsequently related to infant externalizing and internalizing symptoms at age 12 months. Building off an emerging literature exploring prenatal impacts on neonatal functional connectivity, this study further emphasizes the important role of the maternal environment during gestation on infant brain function and its relationship with externalizing and internalizing behavior in the first years of life. The results suggest that the prenatal socioeconomic environment may be a promising target for interventions aimed at improving infant neurobehavioral outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • externalizing
  • functional connectivity
  • neonatal imaging
  • socioeconomic status

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