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Resilience as a moderator of the relationship between stress and different symptom dimensions of depression in adolescents with a history of childhood maltreatment: A multi-wave longitudinal study.

BACKGROUND: Although childhood maltreatment is a key risk factor for the development of psychopathology including depression in later life, not all children who have been maltreated subsequently become depressed.

OBJECTIVE: The study aimed to examine the potentially moderating influence of resilience on the relationship between daily stress and different symptom dimensions of depression in adolescents with a history of childhood maltreatment.

PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: A sample of students (n = 999) aged 12-16 years from middle schools with a history of childhood maltreatment participated in this study.

METHODS: A multi-wave longitudinal study was conducted over 12 months. At baseline, adolescent participants completed standardized self-report measures of resilience, depression, and daily stress. The measures of depression and stress were re-administered every three months for the subsequent 12 months. Multi-level modeling was undertaken to analyze the data.

RESULTS: In adolescents with a history of childhood maltreatment, lower resilience scores were associated with greater increases in depressed affect, absence of positive affect and somatic symptom, but not the interpersonal concerns symptom dimensions of depression following daily stress. Resilience is therefore as one explanation for the discrepant findings regarding the relationship between stress and different symptom dimensions of depression, especially with regard to the stress-related depressive dimensions.

CONCLUSION: Resilience appears to moderate the relationship between daily stress and depression and protect against developing depression in children who have been maltreated. Findings provide potential explanation for the effectiveness of resilience-related therapy in treating depressive symptoms.

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