Maternal parenting behavior and functional connectivity development in children: A longitudinal fMRI study

Elena Pozzi, Nandita Vijayakumar, Michelle L. Byrne, Katherine O. Bray, Marc Seal, Sally Richmond, Andrew Zalesky, Sarah L. Whittle

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Parenting behavior is associated with internalizing symptoms in children, and cross-sectional research suggests that this association may be mediated by the influence of parenting on the development of frontoamygdala circuitry. However, longitudinal studies are lacking. Moreover, there is a paucity of studies that have investigated parenting and large-scale networks implicated in affective functioning. In this longitudinal study, data from 95 (52 female) children and their mothers were included. Children underwent magnetic resonance imaging that included a 6 min resting state sequence at wave 1 (mean age = 8.4 years) and wave 2 (mean age = 9.9 years). At wave 1, observational measures of positive and negative maternal behavior were collected during mother-child interactions. Region-of-interest analysis of the amygdala, and independent component and dual-regression analyses of the Default Mode Network (DMN), Executive Control Network (ECN) and the Salience Network (SN) were carried out. We identified developmental effects as a function of parenting: positive parenting was associated with decreased coactivation of the superior parietal lobule with the ECN at wave 2 compared to wave 1. Thus our findings provide preliminary longitudinal evidence that positive maternal behavior is associated with maturation of the connectivity between higher-order control networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100946
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Amygdala
  • Brain development
  • Functional connectivity
  • Parenting
  • Resting state networks
  • rsfMRI

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