Children from lower-SES families exhibit smaller hippocampal volume than do their higher-SES peers. Few studies, however, have compared hippocampal developmental trajectories as a function of SES. Thus, it is unclear whether initial rank-order stability is preserved, or whether volumes diverge/converge over the course of adolescence. In a sample of 101 girls ages 10-24 years, we examined the longitudinal association between family income and parental education, proxies for SES, and changes in hippocampal volume. Hippocampal volume was obtained using MRI; using mixed modeling, we examined the effects of income and education on hippocampal volume across age. As expected, changes in volume were non-linear across development. Further, trajectories diverged in mid-adolescence, with lower-income girls exhibiting reductions in hippocampal volume. Maximal income-related differences were observed at 18 years, and trajectories converged thereafter. This interaction remained significant when accounting for maternal hippocampal volume, suggesting a unique contribution of environment over potential heritable differences. In contrast, the association between parental education and offspring hippocampal volume appeared to be stable across adolescence, with higher levels of parental education predicting consistently larger hippocampal volume. These findings constitute preliminary evidence that girls from lower-income homes exhibit unique trajectories of hippocampal growth, with differences most evident in late adolescence.
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