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Moderating effects of resilience on depression in individuals with a history of childhood abuse or trauma exposure

Aliza P Wingo, Glenda Wrenn, Tiffany Pelletier, Alisa R Gutman, Bekh Bradley, Kerry J Ressler
Journal of Affective Disorders 2010, 126 (3): 411-4
20488545

BACKGROUND: Influences of resilience on the presence and severity of depression following trauma exposure are largely unknown. Hence, we examined effects of resilience on depressive symptom severity in individuals with past childhood abuse and/or other trauma exposure.

METHODS: In this cross-sectional study of 792 adults, resilience was measured with the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, depression with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), childhood abuse with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, and other traumas with the Trauma Events Inventory.

RESULTS: Multiple linear regression modeling with depression severity (BDI score) as the outcome yielded 4 factors: childhood abuse (β=2.5, p<0.0001), other trauma (β=3.5, p<0.0001), resilience (β=-0.5, p<0.0001), and other trauma × resilience interaction term (β=-0.1, p=0.0021), all of which were significantly associated with depression severity, even after adjusting for age, sex, race, education, employment, income, marital status, and family psychiatric history. Childhood abuse and trauma exposure contributed to depressive symptom severity while resilience mitigated it.

CONCLUSIONS: Resilience moderates depressive symptom severity in individuals exposed to childhood abuse or other traumas both as a main effect and an interaction with trauma exposure. Resilience may be amenable to external manipulation and could present a potential focus for treatments and interventions.

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