Poster F58, Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Investigating the relationship between socioeconomic status, reading ability and white matter: A longitudinal investigation
Stephanie Del Tufo1, Laurie Cutting1; 1Vanderbilt University
Socioeconomic Status (SES) encompasses a broad array of experiences, including an individual’s (or parent’s) economic and social resources. Notably, children in low SES environments have poorer reading ability (Hoff et al. 2013). This suggests an underlying link between SES and reading ability. Studies of SES and brain structure have focused largely on gray matter differences, yet higher SES was also found to be associated with increased white matter (WM) (Chiang et al. 2011). Greater WM integrity (indexed via Fractional Anisotropy; FA) of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) was associated with higher educational attainment (Noble et al. 2013), and higher reading ability (Vandermosten et al. 2012). Despite this common neurobiological link, studies have not yet examined the relationships between SES, reading ability, and the SLF. It is not clear if the link between SES and the SLF stems from the variance in SES that is linked to reading ability, or if SES is uniquely linked to the SLF beyond its relationship with reading ability. In the current study, we asked if SES predicted FA in the SLF after controlling for reading ability. This relationship was explored longitudinally (Visit 1: n=105; 7.43 years, & Visit 2: n=88; 8.43 years) via a mixed linear regression. After controlling for reading ability, we found that SES predicted FA bilaterally in the SLF (p < .05). This indicates that children in higher socioeconomic environments have greater FA in the SLF, regardless of reading ability. Furthermore, this suggests that SES has a unique relationship with WM integrity.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Development & aging