|Beitragstitel||Clinical and neural characteristics of psychosocial stress response in adolescents|
Given that adolescence is a time of intense brain plasticity but also vulnerability to psychiatric disorders, we designed a randomized clinical trial to determine the impact of an early mindfulness-based intervention on stress reactivity and emotion regulation. A group of adolescents between 13 and 15 years of age, without psychiatric follow-up and with varying levels of anxiety, were examined both clinically and neurobiologically before and after an 8-week intervention.
We show that the baseline level of mindfulness tendency (trait mindfulness) is negatively correlated at baseline with clinical symptom levels. In these same adolescents, using a modified version of the Montreal Imaging Stress Task (MIST) where acute stress (difficult mental calculations) ending with positive or negative social appraisal feedback is followed by a 90-second recovery period, we were able to observe high activity in the right anterior prefrontal cortex, anterior insula, and thalamus compared to the control condition. Negative feedback compared to positive feedback showed increased activity in the dorsal posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) in more anxious individuals, and higher activity in the ventral PCC correlated with higher depression scores. These results show that adolescents strongly engage the salience network during social feedback. They also respond specifically to negative peer comparison, especially if their peers exhibit higher levels of depression or anxiety. In conclusion, the modified MIST is an effective tool for investigating the effects of psychosocial stress, valence, and recovery in adolescents, highlighting symptom-associated networks that could be targets for clinical interventions.