Resilience Variables and Posttraumatic Symptoms Among Maltreated Youth

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Child maltreatment is associated with an array of social, behavioral, neurobiological, and developmental problems that can last for many years. A key outcome of child maltreatment includes posttraumatic stress symptoms such as reexperiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal. Considerable research has focused on risk factors for posttraumatic symptoms in maltreated youth, but less so on possible protective factors such as resilience. This study examined several resilience variables (sense of mastery, sense of relatedness, emotional reactivity) in an ethnically diverse sample of maltreated adolescents with posttraumatic symptoms. Key aspects of resilience that predicted posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms included sense of mastery (for fewer symptoms) and emotional reactivity (for more symptoms). In particular, optimism, self-efficacy, and adaptability were inversely related to PTSD symptoms. In addition, emotional reactivity moderated a relationship between resilience resource scores and PTSD symptoms. The findings appeared to apply most to sexually maltreated youth. The results preliminarily demonstrate the importance of considering resilience-based variables during clinical processes for maltreated youth. © 2016 Taylor & Francis.


Maltreatment; posttraumatic symptoms; resilience

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