Date of Award

Winter 12-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Background: Measures of executive function (EF), such as the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, distinguish children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from control children, but less work has examined relationships to depression or brain network organization. This study examined whether early childhood EF predicted a new onset or worsening of ADHD and/or depression, and examined how early childhood EF related to functional connectivity of brain networks at school age. Methods: Participants were 247 children, enrolled at ages 3-6, from a prospective study of emotion development. The BRIEF Global Executive Composite (BRIEF-GEC) was used as the measure of EF in early childhood to predict subsequent ADHD and depression diagnoses and symptoms across school age. Resting state fMRI network analyses examined global efficiency in the frontal-parietal, cingulo-opercular, salience, and default mode networks and six ‘hub’ seed regions selected to examine seed-based connectivity. Results: Early childhood BRIEF-GEC predicted worsening and new onsets of ADHD and depression across school age. Increasing EF deficits predicted increased global efficiency in the salience network and altered connectivity with four regions for the dorsal anterior cingulate hub and one region with the insula hub. This altered connectivity was related to increasing ADHD and depression symptoms. Conclusions: Early executive deficits may be an early common liability for risk of developing ADHD and/or depression and were associated with altered functional connectivity in networks and hub regions relevant to executive processes. Future work could help clarify whether the same subtypes of EF deficits are implicated in the development of both disorders.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Deanna Barch

Committee Members

Denise Head Desiree White


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K70R9NTV