Meaningful associations in the adolescent brain cognitive development study

Neuroimage. 2021 Oct 1:239:118262. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118262. Epub 2021 Jun 18.


The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is the largest single-cohort prospective longitudinal study of neurodevelopment and children's health in the United States. A cohort of n = 11,880 children aged 9-10 years (and their parents/guardians) were recruited across 22 sites and are being followed with in-person visits on an annual basis for at least 10 years. The study approximates the US population on several key sociodemographic variables, including sex, race, ethnicity, household income, and parental education. Data collected include assessments of health, mental health, substance use, culture and environment and neurocognition, as well as geocoded exposures, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and whole-genome genotyping. Here, we describe the ABCD Study aims and design, as well as issues surrounding estimation of meaningful associations using its data, including population inferences, hypothesis testing, power and precision, control of covariates, interpretation of associations, and recommended best practices for reproducible research, analytical procedures and reporting of results.

Keywords: Adolescent brain cognitive development study; Covariate Adjustments; Effect Sizes; Genetics; Hypothesis testing; Population neuroscience; Reproducibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiology
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Child
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Models, Psychological
  • Organ Size
  • Parents / psychology
  • Propensity Score
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design
  • Sample Size
  • Sampling Studies
  • Selection Bias
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States