Predicting change trajectories of neuroticism from baseline brain structure using whole brain analyses and latent growth curve models in adolescents

Sci Rep. 2020 Jan 27;10(1):1207. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-58128-x.


Adolescence is a vulnerable time for personality development. Especially neuroticism with its link to the development of psychopathology is of interest concerning influential factors. The present study exploratorily investigates neuroanatomical signatures for developmental trajectories of neuroticism based on a voxel-wise whole-brain structural equation modelling framework. In 1,814 healthy adolescents of the IMAGEN sample, the NEO-FFI was acquired at three measurement occasions across five years. Based on a partial measurement invariance second-order latent growth curve model we conducted whole-brain analyses on structural MRI data at age 14 years, predicting change in neuroticism over time. We observed that a reduced volume in the pituitary gland was associated with the slope of neuroticism over time. However, no relations with prefrontal areas emerged. Both findings are discussed against the background of possible genetic and social influences that may account for this result.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neuroticism*
  • Patient Dropouts
  • Pituitary Gland / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prognosis
  • Self Report
  • Young Adult