A Neural Biomarker of Psychological Vulnerability to Future Life Stress

Ahmad R. Hariri, Johnna R. Swartz, Spenser R. Radtke, Annchen R. Knodt
We all experience a host of common life stressors such as the death of a family member, medical illness, and financial uncertainty. While most of us are resilient to such stressors, continuing to function normally, for a subset of individuals, experiencing these stressors increases the likelihood of developing treatment-resistant, chronic psychological problems, including depression and anxiety. It is thus paramount to identify predictive markers of risk, particularly those reflecting
more » ... l biological processes that can be targets for intervention and prevention. Using data from a longitudinal study of 340 healthy young adults, we demonstrate that individual differences in threat-related amygdala reactivity predict psychological vulnerability to life stress occurring as much as 1 to 4 years later. These results highlight a readily assayed biomarker, threat-related amygdala reactivity, which predicts psychological vulnerability to commonly experienced stressors and represents a discrete target for intervention and prevention.
doi:10.17615/fn2c-qk74 fatcat:mdv2z5aa75bbnfxetsaf434aza