Reduced Default Mode Connectivity in Adolescents With Conduct Disorder

John Broulidakis, Graeme Fairchild, Kate Sully, Thomas Blumensath, Angela Darekar, Edmund Sonuga-Barke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)
160 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Conduct disorder (CD) is characterized by impulsive, aggressive, and antisocial behaviors that might be related to deficits in empathy and moral reasoning. The brain's default mode network (DMN) has been implicated in self-referential cognitive processes of this kind.

METHOD: This study examined connectivity between key nodes of the DMN in 29 adolescent boys with CD and 29 age- and sex-matched typically developing adolescent boys. The authors ensured that group differences in DMN connectivity were not explained by comorbidity with other disorders by systematically controlling for the effects of substance use disorders (SUDs), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, psychopathic traits, and other common mental health problems.

RESULTS: Only after adjusting for co-occurring ADHD symptoms, the group with CD showed hypoconnectivity between core DMN regions compared with typically developing controls. ADHD symptoms were associated with DMN hyperconnectivity. There was no effect of psychopathic traits on DMN connectivity in the group with CD, and the key results were unchanged when controlling for SUDs and other common mental health problems.

CONCLUSION: Future research should directly investigate the possibility that the aberrant DMN connectivity observed in the present study contributes to CD-related deficits in empathy and moral reasoning and examine self-referential cognitive processes in CD more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-808
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume55
Issue number9
Early online date28 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

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