Religious And Spiritual Importance Moderate Relation Between Default Mode Network Connectivity And Familial Risk For Depression

Svob, Connie; Wang, Zhishun; Weissman, Myrna M.; Wickramaratne, Priya; Posner, Jonathan

Individuals at high risk for depression have increased default mode network (DMN) connectivity, as well as reduced inverse connectivity between the DMN and the central executive network (CEN). Other studies have indicated that the belief in the importance of religion/spirituality (R/S) is protective against depression in high risk individuals. Given these findings, we hypothesized that R/S importance would moderate DMN connectivity, potentially reducing DMN connectivity or increasing DMN-CEN inverse connectivity in individuals at high risk for depression. Using resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) in a sample of 104 individuals (aged 11–60) at high and low risk for familial depression, we previously reported increased DMN connectivity and reduced DMN-CEN inverse connectivity in high risk individuals. Here, we found that this effect was moderated by self-report measures of R/S importance. Greater R/S importance in the high risk group was associated with decreased DMN connectivity. These results may represent a protective neural adaptation in the DMN of individuals at high risk for depression, and may have implications for other meditation-based therapies for depression.


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Neuroscience Letters

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February 1, 2022