Exposure to adversity is a well-documented risk factor for cognitive, behavioral, and mental health problems. In fact, the consequences of adversity may be intergenerational. A growing body of research suggests that maternal exposures to adversity, including those prior to childbirth, are associated with offspring biobehavioral development. In a sample of 36 mothers and their preschool-age children (mean child age = 4.21 ± 0.92 years), we used functional near-infrared spectroscopy to replicate and extend this work to include brain activation during inhibitory control in young children. We found that measures of maternal exposure to adversity, including cumulative, childhood, and preconception exposures, were significantly and positively associated with activation in the right frontopolar prefrontal cortex (PFC) and in the left temporal and parietal clusters during inhibitory control. In addition, and consistent with previous findings, children's increased negative affect and decreased effortful control were associated with increased right PFC activation during inhibitory control. These findings provide preliminary evidence that maternal and dispositional risk factors are linked to alterations in PFC functioning during the preschool years. Children of mothers with a history of exposure to adversity, as well as children who are less temperamentally regulated, may require increased neural resources to meet the cognitive demands of inhibitory control.
|State||Published - Jan 2023|
- executive function
- functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)
- inhibitory control