Exposure to socioeconomic disadvantages (SED) can have negative impacts on mental health, yet SED are a multifaceted construct and the precise processes by which SED confer deleterious effects are less clear. Using a large and diverse sample of preadolescents (ages 9–10 years at baseline, n = 4038, 49% female) from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, we examined associations among SED at both household (i.e., income–needs and material hardship) and neighborhood (i.e., area deprivation and neighborhood unsafety) levels, frontoamygdala resting-state functional connectivity, and internalizing symptoms at baseline and 1-year follow-up. SED were positively associated with internalizing symptoms at baseline and indirectly predicted symptoms 1 year later through elevated symptoms at baseline. At the household level, youth in households characterized by higher disadvantage (i.e., lower income-to-needs ratio) exhibited more strongly negative frontoamygdala coupling, particularly between the bilateral amygdala and medial OFC (mOFC) regions within the frontoparietal network. Although more strongly positive amygdala–mOFC coupling was associated with higher levels of internalizing symptoms at baseline and 1-year follow-up, it did not mediate the association between income-to-needs ratio and internalizing symptoms. However, at the neighborhood level, amygdala–mOFC functional coupling moderated the effect of neighborhood deprivation on internalizing symptoms. Specifically, higher neighborhood deprivation was associated with higher internalizing symptoms for youth with more strongly positive connectivity, but not for youth with more strongly negative connectivity, suggesting a potential buffering effect. Findings highlight the importance of capturing multilevel socioecological contexts in which youth develop to identify youth who are most likely to benefit from early interventions.

You do not currently have access to this content.