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Ann Transl Med. 2019 Dec;7(24):809. doi: 10.21037/atm.2019.12.45.

Psychological resilience negatively correlates with resting-state brain network flexibility in young healthy adults: a dynamic functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

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Department of Psychiatry, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410011, China.
Mental Health Institute of Central South University, Changsha 410011, China.



Psychological resilience is an important personality trait whose decrease is associated with many common psychiatric disorders, but the neural mechanisms underlying it remain largely unclear. In this study, we aimed to explore the neural correlates of psychological resilience in healthy adults by investigating its relationship with functional brain network flexibility, a fundamental dynamic feature of brain network defined by switching frequency of its modular community structures.


Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans were acquired from 41 healthy adults, whose psychological resilience was quantified by the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). Dynamic functional brain network was constructed for each subject, whose flexibility was calculated at all the global, subnetwork and region-of-interest (ROI) levels. After that, the associations between CD-RISC score and brain network flexibility were assessed at all levels by partial correlations controlling for age, sex, education and head motion. Correlation was also tested between the CD-RISC score and modularity of conventional static brain network for comparative purposes.


The CD-RISC score was significant negatively correlated with the brain network flexibility at global level (r=-0.533, P=0.001), and with flexibility of the visual subnetwork at subnetwork level (r=-0.576, corrected P=0.002). Moreover, significant (corrected P<0.05) or trends for (corrected P<0.10) negative correlations were found between the CD-RISC score and flexibilities of a number of visual and default-mode areas at ROI level. Meanwhile, the modularity of static brain network did not reveal significant correlation with CD-RISC score (P>0.05).


Our results suggest that excessive fluctuations of the functional brain community structures during rest may be indicative of a lower psychological resilience, and the visual and default-mode systems may play crucial roles in such relationship. These findings may provide important implications for improving our understanding of the psychological resilience.


Psychological resilience; dynamic brain network; dynamic functional connectivity; flexibility; resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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