Religious and spiritual importance moderate relation between default mode network connectivity and familial risk for depression.Neurosci Lett 2016; 634:94-97NL
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.