P300 Amplitude as an indicator of externalizing in adolescent males

Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.
Psychophysiology (Impact Factor: 2.99). 02/2006; 43(1):84-92. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2006.00376.x
Source: PubMed


Reduced P300 amplitude is reliably found in individuals with a personal or family history of alcohol problems. However, alcoholism is part of a broader externalizing spectrum that includes other substance use and antisocial disorders. We hypothesized that reduced P300 is an indicator of the common factor that underlies disorders within this spectrum. Community males (N=969) were assessed at age 17 in a visual oddball task. Externalizing was defined as the common factor underlying symptoms of alcohol dependence, drug dependence, nicotine dependence, conduct disorder, and adult antisocial behavior. A robust association was found between reduced P300 amplitude and the externalizing factor, and this relation accounted for links between specific externalizing disorders and P300. Our findings indicate that reduced P300 amplitude is an indicator of the broad neurobiological vulnerability that underlies disorders within the externalizing spectrum.

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    • "It is also important to note that low P3 is not unique to alcoholics and their high risk relatives, but is also found in individuals with one or more externalizing disorders or disinhibitory conditions (Carlson et al., 1999; Hill and Shen, 2002; Iacono et al., 2002; Iacono et al., 2003; Iacono and McGue, 2006; Patrick et al., 2006; Carlson et al., 2007; Hicks et al., 2007; Iacono et al., 2008; Patrick, 2008; Gilmore et al., 2010a; Gilmore et al., 2010b, 2012). As reported by several studies, an underlying feature among risk propensity, externalizing disorders and alcoholism is the concept of "impulsivity", which is a conglomerate of personality traits that can result in premature, unduly risky and poorly conceived actions, and is known to be closely related to disinhibitory traits and clinical vulnerability (Gorenstein and Newman, 1980; Martin et al., 1994; Olson et al., 1999; Krueger and Piasecki, 2002; Hall et al., 2007; Kamarajan et al., 2007; Crews and Boettiger, 2009; Romer et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Individuals at high risk to develop alcoholism often manifest neurocognitive deficits as well as increased impulsivity. The goal of the present study is to elucidate reward processing deficits, externalizing disorders, and impulsivity as elicited by electrophysiological, clinical and behavioral measures in subjects at high risk for alcoholism from families densely affected by alcoholism in the context of brain maturation across age groups and gender. Methods: Event-related potentials (ERPs) and current source density (CSD) during a monetary gambling task (MGT) were measured in 12-25 year old offspring (N = 1864) of families in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) Prospective study; the high risk (HR, N = 1569) subjects were from families densely affected with alcoholism and the low risk (LR, N = 295) subjects were from community families. Externalizing disorders and impulsivity scores were also compared between LR and HR groups. Results: HR offspring from older (16-25 years) male and younger (12-15 years) female subgroups showed lower P3 amplitude than LR subjects. The amplitude decrement was most prominent in HR males during the loss condition. Overall, P3 amplitude increase at anterior sites and decrease at posterior areas were seen in older compared to younger subjects, suggesting frontalization during brain maturation. The HR subgroups also exhibited hypofrontality manifested as weaker CSD activity during both loss and gain conditions at frontal regions. Further, the HR subjects had higher impulsivity scores and increased prevalence of externalizing disorders. P3 amplitudes during the gain condition were negatively correlated with impulsivity scores. Conclusions: Older male and younger female HR offspring, compared to their LR counterparts, manifested reward processing deficits as indexed by lower P3 amplitude and weaker CSD activity, along with higher prevalence of externalizing disorders and higher impulsivity scores. Significance: Reward related P3 is a valuable measure reflecting neurocognitive dysfunction in subjects at risk for alcoholism, as well as to characterize reward processing and brain maturation across gender and age group.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · International Journal of Psychophysiology
    • "One of the most extensively examined ERP components associated with externalizing disorders is the P3b, a posteriorly located component thought to reflect attentional allocation (Polich, 2007). Research has reported reduced amplitude in the P3b event-related potential across a broad range of externalizing phenotypes (Euser et al., 2012; Gao and Raine, 2009; Iacono et al., 2002; Iacono and Malone, 2011; Patrick et al., 2006; Polich et al., 1994). Lower P3b amplitude measured in childhood is associated with both concurrent and future levels of externalizing symptoms (Ehlers et al., 2001; Gao et al., 2013), and lower P3b amplitude characterizes children with high family risk for substance use disorders (Begleiter et al., 1987; Viana-Wackermann et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Frustration is a normative affective response with adaptive value in motivating behavior. However, excessive anger in response to frustration characterizes multiple forms of externalizing psychopathology. How a given trait subserves both normative and pathological behavioral profiles is not entirely clear. One hypothesis is that the magnitude of response to frustration differentiates normative versus maladaptive reactivity. Disproportionate increases in arousal in response to frustration may exceed normal regulatory capacity, thus precipitating aggressive or antisocial responses. Alternatively, pathology may arise when reactivity to frustration interferes with other cognitive systems, impairing the individual's ability to respond to frustration adaptively. In this paper we examine these two hypotheses in a sample of kindergarten children. First we examine whether children with conduct problems (CP; n = 105) are differentiated from comparison children (n = 135) with regard to magnitude of autonomic reactivity (cardiac and electrodermal) across a task that includes a frustrative non-reward block flanked by two reward blocks. Second we examine whether cognitive processing, as reflected by magnitude of the P3b brain response, is disrupted in the context of frustrative non-reward. Results indicate no differences in skin conductance, but a greater increase in heart rate during the frustration block among children in the CP group. Additionally, the CP group was characterized by a pronounced decrement in P3b amplitude during the frustration condition compared with both reward conditions. No interaction between cardiac and P3b measures was observed, suggesting that each system independently reflects a greater sensitivity to frustration in association with externalizing symptom severity. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
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    • "Thus, our data cannot clarify if the smaller P300 amplitude in children with higher CP scores reflects a reduced deployment of neural resources specific for rare stimuli, or a more general deficit in information processing. However, this limitation is common to most of the recent research on P300 and externalising behaviour, which was focused on ERP responses to rare stimuli only (Gilmore et al. 2010; Patrick et al. 2006). Second, this is a relatively small sample, implying limited power and reduced ability to detect model fit deteriorations in hierarchical comparisons . "
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    ABSTRACT: Reduced amplitude of the P300 event-related potential has been consistently associated with a variety of externalising problems, including conduct disorder. The few available genetically-informative studies of these relationships, however, were conducted among adolescents/adults (i.e., at an age when conduct disorder has typically already become manifest). Among 200 general population twins with a mean age of 9 years (range 6-14 years), we studied the relationship between the P300 waveform elicited by an auditory oddball task and the DSM-oriented conduct problems scale of the Child Behavior Checklist 6-18. Conduct problems scores were negatively and significantly correlated (r = -0.19, p = 0.01) with P300 amplitude; correlations between P300 amplitude and the other DSM-oriented Child Behavior Checklist scales were non-significant, except for oppositional defiant problems (p = 0.01). We found moderate heritability estimates for both P300 amplitude (0.58, CI:0.37;0.73) and conduct problems (0.52, CI:0.25;0.70). Bivariate twin analyses indicated that the covariation between these two phenotypes can be explained by additive genetic factors only, with a genetic correlation of -0.33. An association between reduced P300 amplitude and conduct problems can be substantiated already in childhood, at an age that precedes the most typical onset of conduct disorder. This relationship appears to be genetic in nature. Reduced P300 amplitude can represent a valuable marker for conduct problems, and can contribute to the early identification of children at high-risk for conduct disorder.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
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