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Does Functional Variation in Cognitive Control Systems of the Brain Link Reappraisal to the Metabolic Syndrome

Onyewuenyi, Ikechukwu C (2013) Does Functional Variation in Cognitive Control Systems of the Brain Link Reappraisal to the Metabolic Syndrome. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Negative emotionality is associated with an increased risk for developing the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Presumably, negative emotionality partly confers such risk via alterations in peripheral autonomic and neuroendocrine effector pathways that promote metabolic pathophysiology. Conversely, protection against risk for the MetS may be conferred by an individual’s tendency to use cognitive strategies to regulate negative emotions. However, the brain systems by which cognitive emotion regulation relates to the MetS are unknown. Accordingly, we examined whether prefrontal and cingulate brain systems that jointly support cognitive emotion regulation and control peripheral physiological responses to negative emotional states represent a pathway linking emotion regulation to the MetS. Middle-aged adults (N=139; 74 men; mean age, 40.39 ± 6.2 years) underwent an fMRI scan while performing a Stroop color-word task that requires cognitive control, evokes a negative emotional state, and engages prefrontal and cingulate brain areas. Individual differences in self-reported tendencies to use cognitive reappraisal as an emotion regulation strategy were assessed by the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ). The presence of the MetS was determined using the criteria of the National Cholesterol Education Program, Adult Treatment Panel III. After adjusting for age and sex, frequent cognitive reappraisal usage was associated with reduced likelihood of having the MetS and with meeting fewer MetS criteria. Moreover, fMRI psychophysiological interaction analyses revealed that increasing task-evoked functional connectivity between the dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) was associated with frequent cognitive reappraisal usage, reduced presence of the MetS, and meeting less MetS criteria, net the influence of age and sex. In an exploratory mediation analysis, this positive dACC-DLPFC connectivity mediated the association between cognitive reappraisal and the MetS. Individuals who frequently use cognitive reappraisal may be at lesser MetS risk in part via an enhanced capacity to recruit prefrontal cognitive control systems during negative affective states.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Onyewuenyi, Ikechukwu Cico3@pitt.eduICO3
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGianaros, Peter J.gianaros@pitt.eduGIANAROS
Committee MemberManuck, Stephen B.manuck@pitt.eduMANUCK
Committee MemberErickson, Kirk Ikiericks@pitt.eduKIERICKS
Date: 16 July 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 December 2012
Approval Date: 16 July 2013
Submission Date: 24 May 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 104
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: emotion regulation, reappraisal, cognitive control, functional connectivity, metabolic syndrome
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2013 20:17
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:12


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