Elevated cognitive rumination and adverse life events are associated with lower cortical surface area and suicidal ideation in adolescents with major depressive disorder
Dauvermann, M.R., Schmaal, L., Colic, L., van Velzen, L.S., Bellow, S., Ford, T.J., ... & van Harmelen, A-L.
Introduction Suicide is the second most common cause of death among young people. Structural brain alterations, rumination, and recent stressful experiences contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs). Methods Here, we employed structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine the unique and combined relationships of these risk factors with STBs in a sample of young people with major depressive disorder (MDD) from the Magnetic Resonance-Improving Mood with Psychoanalytic and Cognitive Therapies (MR-IMPACT) study (N = 67, mean age = 15.90; standard deviation ± 1.32). Results Whereas increased rumination and lower surface area of brain regions, that have been previously reported to be involved in both STBs and rumination, were associated with each other (Beta = −0.268, standard error (SE) = 0.114, Z = −2.346, p = 0.019), only increased rumination was related to greater severity of suicidal ideation (Beta = 0.281, SE = 0.132, Z = 2.134, p = 0.033). In addition, we observed that recent stress was associated with lower surface area in the suicidal ideation model without covariate only (Beta = −0.312, SE = 0.149, Z = −2.089, p = 0.037). For the attempt models, no associations were found between any of the risk factors and suicide attempts. Limitations We emphasize that these findings from this secondary analysis are hypothesis-forming and preliminary in nature given the small sample size for SEM analyses. Conclusion Our findings suggest that neither lower surface area nor recent stress are directly associated with youth suicidal ideation or attempt. However, lower surface area is related to recent stress and increased rumination, which predicted greater severity of suicidal ideation in young people with MDD.