Parental Deprivation- and Threat-Based Factors Associated with Youth Emotion-Based Neurocircuitry and Externalizing Behavior: A Systematic Review

Feeney K, Pintos Lobo R, Hare MM, Morris SSJ, Laird AR, Musser ED, Res Child Adolesc Psychopathol 52 (3) :311-323 (2024).


Parental factors, including negative parenting practices (e.g., family conflict, low monitoring), parental depression, and parental substance use, are associated with externalizing behaviors among youth. However, the ways in which these parental factors are associated with youth brain function and consequent externalizing behavior has been less studied. Both the dimensional and stress acceleration models provide frameworks for understanding how parental factors may be associated with frontolimbic and frontoparietal networks implicated in emotional attention and regulation processes. The current review builds upon this work by examining how deprivation- and threat-based parental factors are associated with youth neurocircuitry involved in emotional functioning and externalizing behaviors. A systematic review using PRISMA guidelines was completed and included five studies assessing parenting behaviors, six studies assessing parental depressive symptoms and/or diagnosis, and 12 studies assessing parental history of substance use. Synthesis of reviewed studies discusses support for the dimensional and stress acceleration models within the context of deprivation and threat. Further, a limited number of studies tested (i.e., six studies) and supported (i.e., three studies) youth neural structure and function as a mediator of the association between parental factors and youth externalizing behavior. Specific recommendations for future work include more deliberate planning related to sample composition, improved clarity related to parental constructs, consistency in methodology, and longitudinal study design in order to better understand associations between contextual parental influences and youth neural and behavioral functioning.