Prospective associations, longitudinal patterns of childhood socioeconomic status, and white matter organization in adulthood Academic Article uri icon


  • The association between childhood socioeconomic status (SES) and brain development is an emerging area of research. The primary focus to date has been on SES and variations in gray matter structure with much less known about the relation between childhood SES and white matter structure. Using a longitudinal study of SES, with measures of income-to-needs ratio (INR) at age 9, 13, 17, and 24, we examined the prospective relationship between childhood SES (age 9 INR) and white matter organization in adulthood using diffusion tensor imaging. We also examined how changes in INR from childhood through young adulthood are associated with white matter organization in adult using a latent growth mixture model. Using tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) we found that there is a significant prospective positive association between childhood INR and white matter organization in the bilateral uncinate fasciculus, bilateral cingulum bundle, bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus, and corpus callosum (pā€‰<ā€‰.05, FWE corrected). The probability that an individual was in the high-increasing INR profile across development compared with the low-increasing INR profile was positively associated with white matter organization in the bilateral uncinate fasciculus, left cingulum, and bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus. The results of the current study have potential implications for interventions given that early childhood poverty may have long-lasting associations with white matter structure. Furthermore, trajectories of socioeconomic status during childhood are important-with individuals that belong to the latent profile that had high increases in INR having greater regional white matter organization in adulthood.

altmetric score

  • 9.2

author list (cited authors)

  • Dufford, A. J., Evans, G. W., Dmitrieva, J., Swain, J. E., Liberzon, I., & Kim, P.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • June 2020