Neurodevelopmental Trajectories Related to Attention Problems Predict Driving-Related Risk Behaviors

Nandita Vijayakumar, Nicholas B. Allen, George J. Youssef, Julian G. Simmons, Michelle L. Byrne, Sarah Whittle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Investigate neurodevelopmental trajectories related to attention/hyperactivity problems (AP) in a community sample of adolescents and whether these trajectories predict later-emerging health risk behaviors. Method: One hundred sixty-six participants underwent up to three magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans (n = 367) between 11 and 20 years of age. AP were measured during early adolescence using the Child Behaviour Checklist, and engagement in risk behaviors was measured during late adolescence using the “DRIVE” survey (i.e., driving risks) and items assessing alcohol-harms. Results: Greater AP scores during early adolescence were related to less reduction over time of left dorsal prefrontal, left ventrolateral prefrontal, and right orbitofrontal thickness. Less thinning of the orbitofrontal cortex was related to greater driving-related risk behaviors at late adolescence. Conclusion: Findings highlight altered neurodevelopmental trajectories in adolescents with AP. Furthermore, altered orbitofrontal development was related to later-emerging driving-related risk, and this neurobiological change mediated the association between attention problems and risk behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1346-1355
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescence
  • attention problems
  • brain development
  • risky behavior
  • structural MRI

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