Poster Session E, Monday, March 25, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Warm and sensitive parenting predicts adolescents’ amygdala activity to angry faces during an emotional face processing task
Angelica F. Carranza1, Annchen R. Knodt2, Johnna R. Swartz1; 1University of California, Davis, 2Duke University
Prior research has shown that maltreatment and other negative forms of parenting influence neural activity associated with emotion processing and regulation in children and adolescents. However, relatively little research has examined associations between positive parenting behaviors and neural activity. The goal of the present study was to examine associations between positive parenting (warmth/sensitivity, involvement, and monitoring) and neural activity during an emotional face matching task. Given prior evidence that positive parenting supports the development of emotion regulation, we predicted that positive parenting behaviors such as warmth and sensitivity would be associated with adolescents’ self-reported emotion regulation abilities as well as lower amygdala activity in response to negative (i.e., angry and fearful) emotional faces. Hypotheses were tested in 38 adolescents (1 nonbinary, 22 boys, 15 girls) between the ages of 12 and 15 (M = 13.26 , S.D. = 1.03). Participants underwent fMRI scanning while completing a face processing task that included task blocks consisting of matching angry, fearful, and happy facial expressions, and control blocks consisting of matching geometric shapes. There was a negative association between right amygdala activity to angry faces and warm/sensitive parenting, (r = -.47, p < .05), such that higher warm/sensitive parenting predicted lower amygdala response to angry faces. These results suggest that warm/sensitive parenting, such as positive emotional support for the child, is associated with lower amygdala activity to angry faces in adolescents, which would suggest lower emotional reactivity to negative emotional expressions on a neurobiological level.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotional responding