Familial and temperamental predictors of resilience in children at risk for conduct disorder and depression

Katherine E. Shannon, Theodore P. Beauchaine, Sharon L. Brenner, Emily Neuhaus, Lisa Gatzke-Kopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


In this study, we evaluated predictors of resilience among 8- to 12-year-old children recruited from primarily low socioeconomic status neighborhoods, 117 of whom suffered from clinical levels of conduct problems and/or depression, and 63 of whom suffered from no significant symptoms. Tests of interactions were conducted between (a) paternal antisocial behavior and maternal depression and (b) several physiological indices of child temperament and emotionality in predicting (c) children's conduct problems and depression. Both internalizing and externalizing outcomes among children were associated specifically with maternal melancholic depression, and not with nonmelancholic depression. In addition, low levels of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) among children conferred significant risk for depression, regardless of maternal melancholia, whereas high RSA offered partial protection. Furthermore, high levels of maternal melancholia conferred significant risk for child depression, regardless of paternal antisocial behavior, whereas low levels of maternal melancholia offered partial protection. Finally, low levels of electrodermal responding (EDR) conferred significant risk for conduct problems, regardless of paternal antisocial behavior, whereas high EDR offered partial protection. None of the identified protective factors offered complete immunity from psychopathology. These findings underscore the complexity of resilience and resilience-related processes, and suggest several potential avenues for future longitudinal research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-727
Number of pages27
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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