Negative Affect Shared with Siblings is Associated with Structural Brain Network Efficiency and Loneliness in Adolescents

Neuroscience. 2019 Nov 21;421:39-47. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2019.09.028. Epub 2019 Oct 31.


Loneliness has a strong neurobiological basis reflected by its specific relationships with structural brain connectivity. Critically, affect traits are highly related to loneliness, which shows close association with the onset and severity of major depressive disorder. This diffusion imaging study was conducted on a sample of adolescent siblings to examine whether positive and negative affect traits were related to loneliness, with brain network efficiency playing a mediating role. The findings of this study confirmed that both global and average local efficiency negatively mediated the association between low positive affect and high negative affect and loneliness, and the mediation was more sensitive to sibling-shared affect traits. The findings have important implications for interventions targeted at reducing the detrimental impact of familiar negative emotional experiences and loneliness.

Keywords: adolescence; diffusion MRI; loneliness; network efficiency; siblings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Loneliness
  • Male
  • Siblings