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Depress Anxiety. 2010 Aug;27(8):768-74. doi: 10.1002/da.20675.

Psychological resilience and neurocognitive performance in a traumatized community sample.

Author information

1
Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Whether psychological resilience correlates with neurocognitive performance is largely unknown. Therefore, we assessed association between neurocognitive performance and resilience in individuals with a history of childhood abuse or trauma exposure.

METHODS:

In this cross-sectional study of 226 highly traumatized civilians, we assessed neurocognitive performance, history of childhood abuse and other trauma exposure, and current depressive and PTSD symptoms. Resilience was defined as having > or =1 trauma and no current depressive or PTSD symptoms; non-resilience as having > or =1 trauma and current moderate/severe depressive or PTSD symptoms.

RESULTS:

The non-resilient group had a higher percentage of unemployment (P=.006) and previous suicide attempts (P<.0001) than the resilient group. Both groups had comparable education and performance on verbal reasoning, nonverbal reasoning, and verbal memory. However, the resilient group performed better on nonverbal memory (P=.016) with an effect size of .35. Additionally, more severe childhood abuse or other trauma exposure was significantly associated with non-resilience. Better nonverbal memory was significantly associated with resilience even after adjusting for severity of childhood abuse, other trauma exposure, sex, and race using multiple logistic regression (adjusted OR=1.2; P=.017).

CONCLUSIONS:

We examined resilience as absence of psychopathology despite trauma exposure in a highly traumatized, low socioeconomic, urban population. Resilience was significantly associated with better nonverbal memory, a measure of ability to code, store, and visually recognize concrete and abstract pictorial stimuli. Nonverbal memory may be a proxy for emotional learning, which is often dysregulated in stress-related psychopathology, and may contribute to our understanding of resilience.

PMID:
20186970
PMCID:
PMC2918658
DOI:
10.1002/da.20675
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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