Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Hayden, Elizabeth P.


Dysfunction in cortico-limbic circuitry is implicated in internalizing disorders, but less is known about whether structural abnormalities precede disorder, thus potentially marking risk. I therefore examined associations between white matter tract integrity in cortico-limbic circuitry at age 7, obtained using Diffusion Tensor Imaging, and concurrent and longitudinal patterns of internalizing symptoms, over a 5-year period, in 42 typically developing girls. Using Automated Fiber Quantification, diffusion properties were examined at multiple points along tract length (cf., an average diffusion measure of the entire tract). Concurrent internalizing symptoms were associated with reduced fractional anisotropy in segments of the cingulum bundle and uncinate fasciculus, bilaterally. Moreover, latent profile analysis showed that girls with increasing internalizing symptoms in early and middle childhood had reduced fractional anisotropy in these segments compared to girls with stably low internalizing symptoms. These results point to a putative neural mechanism underlying the course of internalizing symptoms in early childhood.