Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 887–901 | Cite as

Protective Factors and the Development of Resilience in the Context of Neighborhood Disadvantage

  • Ella Vanderbilt-Adriance
  • Daniel S. Shaw


The purpose of the present study was to examine relations among multiple child and family protective factors, neighborhood disadvantage, and positive social adjustment in a sample of 226 urban, low SES boys followed from infancy to early adolescence. The results indicated that child IQ, nurturant parenting, and parent–child relationship quality, measured in early childhood, were all significantly associated with a composite measure tapping low levels of antisocial behavior and high levels of social skills at ages 11 and 12. Parental romantic partner relationship quality (RPRQ) was only significantly related to positive social adjustment in the context of low levels of neighborhood disadvantage. Results suggest that with the exception of RPRQ, these protective factors operate in a comparable manner with respect to positive social adjustment for this predominantly low-income urban sample of boys.


Resilience Neighborhood disadvantage Protective factors Low-income families 



This research was supported by grants awarded to the second author from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH50907 and MH01666). The authors would like to thank Susan B. Campbell, Mark T. Greenberg, Robert McCall, Jennifer Silk, Emily Skuban, and Chris Trentacosta for their comments on earlier versions of this article; Bobby Jones and JeeWon Cheong for their statistical consultation; Emily B. Winslow and Madeleine Root for their help in collecting census data; and finally the research assistants and families of the Pitt Mother and Child Project who made this possible.


  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Belsky, J. (1996). Parent, infant, and social–contextual antecedents of father–son attachment security. Developmental Psychology, 32, 905–913.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Belsky, J., Youngblade, L., Rovine, M., & Volling, B. (1991). Patterns of marital change and parent–child interaction. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53, 487–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bradley, R. H. (1993). Children’s home environments, health, behavior, and intervention efforts: A review using the HOME inventory as a marker measure. Genetic, Social and General Psychology Monographs, 119, 437–490.Google Scholar
  5. Caldwell, B. M., & Bradley, R. H. (1984). Home observation for measurement of the environment. Little Rock: University of Arkansas at Little Rock.Google Scholar
  6. Calkins, S. D., & Fox, N. A. (2002). Self-regulatory processes in early personality development: A multilevel approach to the study of childhood social withdrawal and aggression. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 477–498.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Campbell, S. B., Shaw, D. S., & Gilliom, M. (2000). Early externalizing behavior problems: Toddlers and preschoolers at risk for later maladjustment. Development and Psychopathology, 12, 467–488.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cole, P. M., Zahn-Waxler, C., & Smith, K. D. (1994). Expressive control during a disappointment: Variations related to preschoolers’ behavior problems. Developmental Psychology, 30, 835–846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Criss, M. M., Pettit, G. S., Bates, J. E., Dodge, K. A., & Lapp, A. L. (2002). Family adversity, positive peer relationships, and children’s externalizing behavior: A longitudinal perspective on risk and resilience. Child Development, 73, 1220–1237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cummings, E. M., Goeke-Morey, M. C., & Papp, L. M. (2004). Everyday marital conflict and child aggression. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32, 191–202.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davies, P. T., & Cummings, E. M. (1994). Marital conflict and child adjustment: An emotional security hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 387–411.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Duncan, G. J., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Klebanov, P. K. (1994). Economic deprivation and early childhood development. Child Development, 65, 296–318.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., Shepard, S. A., Murphy, B. C., Guthrie, I. K., Jones, S., et al. (1997). Contemporaneous and longitudinal prediction of children’s social functioning from regulation and emotionality. Child Development, 68, 642–664.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Elliott, D. S., Huizinga, D., & Ageton, S. S. (1985). Explaining delinquency and drug use. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Emery, R. E., & Forehand, R. (1996). Parental divorce and children’s well-being: A focus on resilience. In R. J. Haggerty, L. R. Sherrod, et al. (Eds.) Stress, risk, and resilience in children and adolescents: Processes, mechanisms, and interventions (pp. 64–99). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Emery, R. E., & O’Leary, K. D. (1982). Children’s perceptions of marital discord and behavior problems of boys and girls. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 10, 11–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Flanagan, D. P., & Alfonso, V. C. (1995). A critical review of the technical characteristics of new and recently revised intelligence tests for preschool children. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 13, 66–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gilliom, M., Shaw, D. S., Beck, J. E., Schonberg, M. A., & Lukon, J. L. (2002). Anger regulation in disadvantaged preschool boys: Strategies, antecedents, and the development of self-control. Developmental Psychology, 38, 222–235.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gorman-Smith, D., Tolan, P., & Henry, D. (1999). The relation of community and family to risk among urban-poor adolescents. In P. Cohen, C. Slomkowski, & L. Robins (Eds.) Historical and geographic influences on psychopathology (pp. 349–367). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  20. Gresham, F. M., & Elliott, S. N. (1990). Social skills rating system manual. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  21. Grolnick, W. S., Bridges, L. J., & Connell, J. P. (1996). Emotion regulation in 2-year-olds: Strategies and emotional expression in four contexts. Child Development, 67, 928–941.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Henggeler, S. W. (1999). Multisystemic therapy: An overview of clinical procedures, outcomes, and policy implications. Child Psychology & Psychiatry Review, 4, 2–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hershorn, M., & Rosenbaum, A. (1985). Children of marital violence: A closer look at the unintended victims. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 55, 260–266.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ingoldsby, E. M., Shaw, D. S., & Garcia, M. M. (2001). Intrafamily conflict in relation to boys’ adjustment at school. Development and Psychopathology, 13, 35–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leventhal, T., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2003). Children and youth in neighborhood contexts. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 27–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Li, S. T., Nussbaum, K. M., & Richards, M. H. (2007). Risk and protective factors for African American youth. American Journal of Community Psychology, 39, 21–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Locke, H. J., & Wallace, K. M. (1959). Short marital-adjustment and prediction tests: Their reliability and validity. Marriage and Family Living, 21, 251–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Loeber, R., & Schmaling, K. B. (1985). The utility of differentiating between mixed and pure forms of antisocial child behavior. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 13, 315–336.Google Scholar
  29. Loeber, R., Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Van Kammen, W., & Farrington, D. (1989). Development of a new measure of self-reported antisocial behavior in young children: Prevalence and reliability. In M. W. Klein (Ed.) Cross-national research in self-reported crime and delinquency (pp. 203–225). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  30. Luthar, S. S. (1991). Vulnerability and resilience: A study of high-risk adolescents. Child Development, 62, 600–616.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Luthar, S. S., & Zelazo, L. B. (2003). Research on resilience: An integrative review. In S. S. Luthar (Ed.) Resilience and vulnerability: Adaptation in the context of childhood adversities (pp. 510–549). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Marvin, R. S. (1977). An ethological–cognitive model for the attenuation of mother–infant attachment behavior. In T. M. Alloway, L. Krames, & P. Pliner (Eds.) Advances in the study of communication and affect: The development of social attachments (vol. 3, (pp. 25–60)). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  33. Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56, 227–238.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Masten, A. S., & Coatsworth, J. D. (1998). The development of competence in favorable and unfavorable environments: Lessons from successful children. American Psychologist, 53, 205–220.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Masten, A. S., Hubbard, J. J., Gest, S. D., Tellegen, A., Garmezy, N., & Ramirez, M. (1999). Competence in the context of adversity: Pathways to resilience and maladaptation from childhood to late adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 11, 143–169.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Masten, A. S., & Reed, M. J. (2002). Resilience in development. In C. R. Snyder, & S. J. Lopez (Eds.) Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 74–88). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. McLoyd, V. C. (1998). Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. American Psychologist, 53, 185–204.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Miller, L. S., Wasserman, G. A., Neugebauer, R., Gorman-Smith, D., & Kamboukos, D. (1999). Witnessed community violence and antisocial behavior in high-risk, urban boys. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 28, 2–11.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nagin, D. S. (2005). Group-based modeling of development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard.Google Scholar
  40. Olds, D. L. (2002). Prenatal and infancy home visiting by nurses: From randomized trials to community replication. Prevention Science, 3, 153–172.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Patterson, G. R., Reid, J. B., & Dishion, T. J. (1992). Antisocial boys. Eugene, OR: Castalia.Google Scholar
  42. Pepler, D. J., & Craig, W. M. (2005). Aggressive girls on troubled trajectories: A developmental perspective. In D. J. Pepler (Ed.) Development and treatment of girlhood aggression (pp. 3–28). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  43. Pianta, R. C., Steinberg, M., & Rollins, K. (1995). The first two years of school: Teacher–child relationships and deflections in children’s classroom adjustment. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 295–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Porter, C. L., Wouden-Miller, M., Silva, S. S., & Porter, A. E. (2003). Marital harmony and conflict: Links to infants’ emotional regulation and cardiac vagal tone. Infancy, 4, 297–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Radke-Yarrow, M., & Brown, E. (1993). Resilience and vulnerability in children of multiple-risk families. Development and Psychopathology, 5, 581–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sattler, J. M. (1990). Assessment of children (3rd ed.). San Diego: Sattler.Google Scholar
  47. Seidman, E., & Pedersen, S. (2003). Holistic contextual perspectives on risk, protection, and competence among low-income urban adolescents. In S. S. Luthar (Ed.) Resilience and vulnerability: Adaptation in the context of childhood adversities (pp. 318–342). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Shaw, D. S., Criss, M. M., Schonberg, M. A., & Beck, J. E. (2004). The development of family hierarchies and their relation to children’s conduct problems. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 483–500.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Shaw, D. S., Dishion, T. J., Supplee, L., Gardner, F., & Arnds, K. (2006). Randomized trial of a family-centered approach to the prevention of the early conduct problems: Two-year effects of the Family Check-Up in early childhood. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 1–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Silk, J. S., Vanderbilt-Adriance, E., Shaw, D. S., Forbes, E. E., Whalen, D. J., Ryan, N. D., et al. (2007). Resilience among children and adolescents at risk for depression: Mediation and moderation across social and neurobiological contexts. Development and Psychopathology, 19, 841–865.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Loeber, R., Wei, E., Farrington, D. P., & Wikström, P. H. (2002). Risk and promotive effects in the explanation of persistent serious delinquency in boys. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 111–123.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tellegen, A., & Briggs, P. F. (1967). Old wine in new skins: Grouping Wechsler subtests into new scales. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 31, 499–506.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Webster-Stratton, C., & Taylor, T. (2001). Nipping early risk factors in the bud: Preventing substance abuse, delinquency, and violence in adolescence through interventions targeted at young children (0–8 years). Prevention Science, 2, 165–192.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wechsler, D. (1989). Wechsler preschool and primary scale of intelligence—Revised. San Antonio: The Psychological.Google Scholar
  55. Werner, E., & Smith, R. S. (1992). Overcoming the odds: High risk children from birth to adulthood. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  56. White, J. L., Moffitt, T. E., & Silva, P. A. (1989). A prospective replication of the protective effects of IQ in subjects at high risk for juvenile delinquency. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57, 719–724.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wikström, P. O., & Loeber, R. (2000). Do disadvantaged neighborhoods cause well-adjusted children to become adolescent delinquents? A study of male juvenile serious offending, individual risk and protective factors, and neighborhood context. Criminology, 38, 1109–1142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Winslow, E. B. (2001). Development of boys’ early conduct problems in a low-income, urban sample: Implications of neighborhood context and maternal parenting. Dissertation Abstracts International, 62, 2509.Google Scholar
  59. Wyman, P. A., Cowen, E. L., Work, W. C., Hoyt-Meyers, L., Magnus, K. B., & Fagen, D. B. (1999). Caregiving and developmental factors differentiating young at-risk urban children showing resilient versus stress-affected outcomes: A replication and extension. Child Development, 70, 645–659.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Yates, T. M., Egeland, B., & Sroufe, L. A. (2003). Rethinking resilience: A developmental process perspective. In S. S. Luthar (Ed.)Resilience and vulnerability: Adaptation in the context of childhood adversities (pp. 243–266). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations