Racial Variation in the Association between Childhood Depression and Frontal Pole Volume among American Children

Shervin Assari


Background: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is associated with an altered structure and function of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). There is more to find out about how this association differs among diverse racial groups. Aim: This study was performed to investigate racial differences in the association between MDD and frontal pole volume in 9/10-year-old children in the U.S. Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study used the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. Then an analytical sample included 10185 American children between the ages of 9 and 10. The independent variable was current MDD, measured using K-SADS. The primary outcome was frontal pole volume, measured using the structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (sMRI). Race was the moderator. Mixed-effects regression models were used for data analysis. Results: In the overall sample, MDD was associated with a smaller frontal pole volume among children. Race showed a statistically significant interaction with MDD on children’s frontal pole volume, indicating stronger effects on White children compared to Black children. Conclusion: The inverse association between MDD and frontal pole volume is steeper in Black than White American children. White American children with and without MDD show more similar frontal pole volume, while Black children with and without MDD differ more when it comes to the frontal pole volume. It is unknown whether or not the stronger association between frontal pole volume and MDD in Black children is due to a poor access to treatment or to a higher chronicity of MDD in Black communities.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/rhs.v5n2p121


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