The phenotype and genotype of antisocial behavior among females are different from those among males. Previous studies have documented structural brain alterations in males with antisocial behavior, yet little is known about the neural correlates of female antisocial behavior. The present study examined young women who had presented conduct disorder (CDW) prior to age 15 to determine whether brain abnormalities are present in adulthood and whether the observed abnormalities are associated with comorbid disorders or maltreatment that typically characterize this population. Using magnetic resonance imaging and voxel-based morphometry, we compared gray matter volumes (GMV) of 31 women who presented CD by midadolescence and 25 healthy women (HW), age, on average, 23 years. Participants completed structured, validated interviews to diagnose mental disorders, and validated questionnaires to document physical and sexual abuse. Relative to HW, CDW presented increased GMV in the left superior temporal gyrus that was associated with past alcohol and drug dependence, current use of alcohol and drugs, and current anxiety and depression symptoms and maltreatment. Additionally, CDW displayed reduced GMV in lingual gyrus, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate cortex that was associated with past comorbid disorders, current alcohol and drugs use, current anxiety and depression symptoms, and maltreatment. The CDW also presented reduced total GMV that was associated with past comorbid disorders and current anxiety/depression symptoms. Alterations of brain structure were observed among young adult females with prior CD, relative to HW, all of which were associated with internalizing and externalizing disorders and maltreatment that typically accompany CD.
Cognitive, Affective, & Behaviorial Neuroscience – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 10, 2017
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