Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness among adolescents. Behavioral inhibition (Bl), an early-life predisposition to withdraw from novel, social stimuli, predicts high risk for adolescent anxiety, particularly social phobia (SP). This association persists over decades, yet the neurophysiologicai mechanisms of this association are unclear. The current study examines whether adolescents with SP or a history of temperamental riskfor SP (i.e., Bl) share anomalies in striatal circuitry reflecting hypersensivity to motivationally salient nonsocial and social stimuli. The current aims examine neural response to: (1) nonsocial incentives in adolescents with SP vs. healthy adolescents;(2) social incentives in adolescents with SP vs. healthy adolescents;and (3) social incentives in adolescents with and without temperamental risk for SP. To accomplish these aims, I will use fMRl tasks involving response to (a) anticipated monetary rewards and (b) anticipated peer evaluation. My career goal is to become an independent scientist conducting translationally-oriented work integrating developmental psychology and clinical neuroscience. I have obtained a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at the University of California, Davis (UCD) to begin September 2009.1 am confident that this position, in conjunction with my K99/R00 grant awarded September 2007, will support my goal of becoming an independent researcher whose work focuses on developmental clinical neuroscience. I am seeking to transition this grant from NIMH to the Centerfor Mind and Brain at UCD in accordance with the design ofthe K99/R00 (NIH Pathway to Independence Career Development Award). The intramural component of my grant and accompanying Research Fellowship ends August 2009. The grant is designed for the PI to transition to an extramural institution, i.e. my Assistant Professor position at UCD. I will continue collaboration with NIMH to insure successful completion of my grant, as stipulated in my proposal to achieve my research and career development aims. In particular, I will maintain my strong collaboration with Dr. Daniel Pine (grant sponsor), Chief of the Emotion and Development Branch at NIMH, as well as Dr. Nathan Fox (grant co-sponsor), Distinguished University Professor at U Maryland.
This study has the potential to greatly improve the identification of early behavioral and neural predictors of adolescent anxiety, the most prevalent adolescent mental illness. In turn, this information can be used to target children in greatest need of intervention and allow for earlier intervention before anxiety becomes debilitating and when the potential for change is at its greatest.
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