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Structural brain correlates of adolescent resilience

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Keith B. Burt, Robert Whelan, Patricia J. Conrod, Tobias Banaschewski, Gareth J. Barker, Arun L W Bokde, Uli Bromberg, Christian Büchel, Mira Fauth-Bühler, Herta Flor, André Galinowski, Juergen Gallinat, Penny Gowland, Andreas Heinz, Bernd Ittermann, Karl Mann, Frauke Nees, Dimitri Papadopoulos-Orfanos, Tomas Paus, Zdenka Pausova & 7 more Luise Poustka, Marcella Rietschel, Trevor W. Robbins, Michael N. Smolka, Andreas Ströhle, Gunter Schumann, Hugh Garavan

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1296
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number11
Early online date15 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Burt et al adolescent resilience - final including figure and supplement

    Burt_et_al_adolescent_resilience_final_including_figure_and_supplement.pdf, 1.02 MB, application/pdf


    Accepted author manuscript


    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:

    Burt, K. B., Whelan, R., Conrod, P. J., Banaschewski, T., Barker, G. J., Bokde, A. L.W., Bromberg, U., Büchel, C., Fauth-Bühler, M., Flor, H., Galinowski, A., Gallinat, J., Gowland, P., Heinz, A., Ittermann, B., Mann, K., Nees, F., Papadopoulos-Orfanos, D., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Poustka, L., Rietschel, M., Robbins, T. W., Smolka, M. N., Ströhle, A., Schumann, G., Garavan, H. and the IMAGEN Consortium (2016), Structural brain correlates of adolescent resilience. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12552

    which has been published in final form at
    [DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12552].

    This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

King's Authors


Background: Despite calls for integration of neurobiological methods into research on youth resilience (high competence despite high adversity), we know little about structural brain correlates of resilient functioning. The aim of the current study was to test for brain regions uniquely associated with positive functioning in the context of adversity, using detailed phenotypic classification. Methods: 1,870 European adolescents (Mage = 14.56 years, SDage = 0.44 years, 51.5% female) underwent MRI scanning and completed behavioral and psychological measures of stressful life events, academic competence, social competence, rule-abiding conduct, personality, and alcohol use. Results: The interaction of competence and adversity identified two regions centered on the right middle and superior frontal gyri; grey matter volumes in these regions were larger in adolescents experiencing adversity who showed positive adaptation. Differences in these regions among competence/adversity subgroups were maintained after controlling for several covariates and were robust to alternative operationalization decisions for key constructs. Conclusions: We demonstrate structural brain correlates of adolescent resilience, and suggest that right prefrontal structures are implicated in adaptive functioning for youth who have experienced adversity.

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