Patterns of experience, expression, and physiology of stress relate to depressive symptoms and self-injurious thoughts and behaviors in adolescents: A person-centered approach

Katherine A. Carosella, Andrea Wiglesworth, Jason José Bendezú, Rylee Brower, Salahudeen Mirza, Bryon A. Mueller, Kathryn R. Cullen, Bonnie Klimes-Dougan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Preliminary evidence shows that discordance in stress experience, expression, and physiology (EEP) in adolescents is linked to depression, suicidal ideation (SI), non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), and brain functioning. This study employs person-centered analysis to probe the relationship between stress responses, psychopathology, and neural patterns in female adolescents who are oversampled for engagement in NSSI. Methods Adolescent females (N = 109, ages 12-17) underwent a social stress test from which self-report measures of stress experience, observer ratings of stress expression, and physiological metrics of stress (via salivary cortisol) were obtained. Multi-trajectory modeling was employed to identify concordant and discordant stress EEP groups. Depressive symptoms, SI and attempt, NSSI engagement, frontal and limbic activation to emotional stimuli, and resting state fronto-limbic connectivity were examined in the EEP groups derived from the multi-trajectory models. Results Four groups were identified, three of which demonstrated relatively concordant EEP and one which demonstrated discordant EEP (High Experience-High Expression-Low Physiology). Further, replicating past research, the High Experience-High Expression-Low Physiology discordant group exhibited higher depressive symptoms, SI, suicide attempt, and NSSI episodes (only for sensitivity analyses based on past year) relative to other EEP groups. No significant group differences in brain functioning emerged. Conclusion Results indicate that within-person, multi-level patterns in stress responding capture risk for dysfunction including depression and self-injurious thoughts and behaviors. Further interrogating of system-level stress functioning may better inform assessment and intervention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7902-7912
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological medicine
Volume53
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 23 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press.

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • MRI
  • cortisol
  • depression
  • person-centered
  • self-injury
  • stress responsivity

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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