Data Analysis Strategy and Potential Confounds
Logistic regression analyses were performed to test whether individual or family level variables at age 15 acted as resource or protective factors for resilient outcome at age 20. The dependent measure in these analyses was resilient/not resilient at age 20. In the analyses of potential resource factors, the variable being tested was entered on its own in the first block of the analyses. In the analyses of potential protective factors, the main effect variables (maternal depression and protective factor variable) were entered into the first step of the analyses, and the interaction term (maternal depression × protective factor variable) was entered into the second step. All statistical tests were two-tailed and alpha levels were set at 0.05.
Males and females did not differ in their rates of resilient outcomes and gender did not moderate any of the findings in this study. Two socioeconomic variables were assessed for potential confounding effects on outcomes: family income at entry to the study (pregnancy) and maternal education. Both were unrelated to youth resilient outcome at age 20. Missing data resulted in a different sample size for analyses on father child relationship data.
Correlations among Resource/Protective Factors
Correlations among the proposed resource/protective factors are presented in . Both IQ and self esteem were correlated with several of the perceived parenting variables, as well as with one another. In addition, many of the perceived parenting variables were correlated with one another, as would be expected.
Correlations Among Hypothesized Protective Factors
Parent-Child Relationship and Young Adult Outcome
presents the results of logistic regression analyses that examined whether parent-child relationship qualities acted as resource and/or protective factors for the youth in this sample. As can be seen from the table, perceived maternal warmth and paternal psychological control acted as resource factors, but not as protective factors in this sample. In other words, these parenting factors predicted to resilient outcomes across the whole sample, and their effects were not moderated by maternal depression status. Only one parent-child relationship factor at age 15 acted as a protective factor at age 20: low perceived maternal psychological control. To interpret the interaction effect with maternal depression for this parent-child relationship variable, a median split was performed on maternal psychological control and rates of resilient outcome were plotted for youths with and without maternal depression and with and without this protective factor. As can be seen in , the presence of a more positive mother child relationship resulted in a level of functioning in the young adult offspring of depressed mothers that was similar to that noted in controls.
Hypothesized Protective Factors at Age 15 (Parenting, IQ, Self Perception, and Peer Social Functioning) and Resilient Outcome Index at Age 20
Maternal Depression, Mother Child Relationship Quality and Resilience at Age 20
IQ, Self Esteem, and Peer Social Functioning at 15 and Young Adult Outcome
As can be seen in , higher IQ, positive self esteem, and positive peer functioning at age 15 acted as resource factors for the youth in this sample. IQ additionally acted as a protective factor for children of depressed mothers. As demonstrates, adult children of depressed mothers who had high IQ scores had outcomes similar to the adult children of nondepressed women in this sample.
Maternal Depression, Child IQ, and Resilience at Age 20
Relative Strength of Factors Predicting to the Resilient Outcome Index
We predicted that positive peer functioning at age 15 would be the strongest predictor of resilient outcome at age 20 in children of depressed mothers. Analyses testing this hypothesis were conducted for offspring of depressed mothers only. Because the six parenting variables in this study were conceptually similar to one another in terms of their hypothesized effect on resilience, and because each of the other domains of resource/protection were only represented by one variable, we selected maternal psychological control as the single parenting variable for inclusion in these analyses. Like the variables in the other domains under study, maternal psychological control showed initial promise as a resource/protective factor (see ). So that odds ratios (ORs) would be comparable across these predictors, all measures were converted to standardized scores, and all standardized scores were calculated such that a higher level of the predictor variable led to a greater likelihood of a resilient outcome. Contrary to our hypothesis, when peer social functioning, IQ, self esteem, and mother psychological control were all entered together, peer social functioning did not yield the highest OR. Instead, all the predictor variables yielded highly similar ORs, and peer social functioning was not found to be a significant predictor of resilience (see ).
Comparison of Relative Strengths of Protective Factors Predicting Resilient Outcome at Age 20 In Children of Depressed Mothers
Temporal Stability of Resilience
Preliminary analyses were conducted to investigate the stability and change of resilience over the time period between ages 15 and 20. Chi-square analyses revealed 160 youths who were resilient at neither time point, 53 who were not resilient at age 15 but became resilient at age 20, 222 who were resilient at age 15 but were no longer resilient at age 20, and 213 who were resilient at both ages. Of the subjects who were resilient at age 15, 49% remained resilient at age 20 (“persistent resilience”). Of the subjects who were not resilient at age 15, 25% were resilient at age 20 (“late-emerging resilience”).
Factors Associated with “Persistent Resilience”
A series of logistic regression tests were conducted to determine which factors at age 15, if any, predicted “persistent resilience” (positive outcome across ages 15 and 20). The comparison group in these analyses was the youth who were resilient at age 15, but did not evidence resilience at age 20. Preliminary analyses revealed no significant differences between the two comparison groups according to gender, parent education, or family income.
One factor—maternal warmth—was associated with continued high functioning (or resilience) regardless of maternal depression status (Wald (N=435) = 5.70, p=.02; OR=1.01 (1.01–1.02)). As can be seen in , youth intelligence interacted with maternal depression status to predict persistent resilience (Wald(N=435) = 7.13, p<.01; OR=1.14 (1.04–1.26)). No other factors were found to have interaction effects. Children of depressed mothers who had higher IQ had similar rates of functioning through adolescence and adulthood as children of nondepressed mothers in the sample. No other parenting, peer, or individual level factors predicted persistent resilience.
IQ and Persistent Resilience from Adolescence to Young Adulthood
Factors Associated with Late Emerging Resilience
A series of logistic regression tests were conducted to determine which factors at age 15, if any, predicted “late-emerging resilience” (poor functioning at age 15 followed by resilient functioning at age 20) as compared to persistent maladaptive functioning (poor outcome across both ages 15 and 20). Preliminary analyses revealed no significant differences between the two comparison groups according to gender, parental income upon entry to study, or highest level of education completed by the parent. Logistic regression analyses revealed that youth self esteem during adolescence predicted to a shift from low to high functioning/resilience in young adulthood in both the children of depressed and non-depressed mothers (Wald (N=213) = 7.15, p<0.01; OR=1.15(1.04–1.26)). Maternal psychological control (Wald (N=213) = 4.50, p=.03; OR=.84(.72–.98)) interacted with mother depression status to predict late emerging resilience. As can be seen in , for children of depressed mothers, lower levels of maternal psychological control predicted better youth outcome as they transitioned to adulthood. No other parenting, peer, or individual level factors predicted late emerging resilience.
Mother Child Relationship Quality and Late Emerging Resilience