Meaningful associations in the adolescent brain cognitive development study

Anthony Steven Dick, Daniel A. Lopez, Ashley L. Watts, Steven Heeringa, Chase Reuter, Hauke Bartsch, Chun Chieh Fan, David N. Kennedy, Clare Palmer, Andrew Marshall, Frank Haist, Samuel Hawes, Thomas E. Nichols, Deanna M. Barch, Terry L. Jernigan, Hugh Garavan, Steven Grant, Vani Pariyadath, Elizabeth Hoffman, Michael NealeElizabeth A. Stuart, Martin P. Paulus, Kenneth J. Sher, Wesley K. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is the largest single-cohort prospective longitudinal study of neurodevelopment and children's health in the United States. A cohort of n = 11,880 children aged 9–10 years (and their parents/guardians) were recruited across 22 sites and are being followed with in-person visits on an annual basis for at least 10 years. The study approximates the US population on several key sociodemographic variables, including sex, race, ethnicity, household income, and parental education. Data collected include assessments of health, mental health, substance use, culture and environment and neurocognition, as well as geocoded exposures, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and whole-genome genotyping. Here, we describe the ABCD Study aims and design, as well as issues surrounding estimation of meaningful associations using its data, including population inferences, hypothesis testing, power and precision, control of covariates, interpretation of associations, and recommended best practices for reproducible research, analytical procedures and reporting of results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118262
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Adolescent brain cognitive development study
  • Covariate Adjustments
  • Effect Sizes
  • Genetics
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Population neuroscience
  • Reproducibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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