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Childhood trauma and resilience in old age: applying a context model of resilience to a sample of former indentured child laborers


Maercker, Andreas; Hilpert, Peter; Burri, Andrea (2016). Childhood trauma and resilience in old age: applying a context model of resilience to a sample of former indentured child laborers. Aging & Mental Health, 20(6):616-626.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

Psychological resilience has been rarely investigated in elderly populations. We applied a more comprehensive model of trauma-specific coping and resilience, which included Ungar's context model and included decentral factors of resilience (i.e., environments that provide resources to build resilience).

METHOD

We assessed resilience in a cohort of former Swiss indentured child laborers (N = 74; 59% males) at two time points; first at the mean age of 80 years and then again 20 months later. At each time point, the following measures of resilience were assessed: resilience indicators of life satisfaction and lack of depression. In addition, resilience predictors of trauma exposure, perceived social support, dysfunctional disclosure of traumatic experiences, social acknowledgment as a victim, and self-efficacy; and decentral resilience factors of education, income, number of children, and physical health were measured.

RESULTS

Using path-analysis, we found that life satisfaction and lack of depression were predicted by dysfunctional disclosure, social support, and self-efficacy at various significance levels. Change scores of resilience were predicted by higher trauma exposure, social acknowledgment as a victim, and an interaction between the two. The model for decentral factors also fitted, with physical health and income predicting the resilience indicators.

CONCLUSION

Applying this comprehensive resilience model in a sample of older adults revealed meaningful findings in predicting resilience at a single time point and over time. Atypical coping strategies, such as perceived social acknowledgment as a victim and disclosure, may be particularly important for former victims who have suffered institutional abuse.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

Psychological resilience has been rarely investigated in elderly populations. We applied a more comprehensive model of trauma-specific coping and resilience, which included Ungar's context model and included decentral factors of resilience (i.e., environments that provide resources to build resilience).

METHOD

We assessed resilience in a cohort of former Swiss indentured child laborers (N = 74; 59% males) at two time points; first at the mean age of 80 years and then again 20 months later. At each time point, the following measures of resilience were assessed: resilience indicators of life satisfaction and lack of depression. In addition, resilience predictors of trauma exposure, perceived social support, dysfunctional disclosure of traumatic experiences, social acknowledgment as a victim, and self-efficacy; and decentral resilience factors of education, income, number of children, and physical health were measured.

RESULTS

Using path-analysis, we found that life satisfaction and lack of depression were predicted by dysfunctional disclosure, social support, and self-efficacy at various significance levels. Change scores of resilience were predicted by higher trauma exposure, social acknowledgment as a victim, and an interaction between the two. The model for decentral factors also fitted, with physical health and income predicting the resilience indicators.

CONCLUSION

Applying this comprehensive resilience model in a sample of older adults revealed meaningful findings in predicting resilience at a single time point and over time. Atypical coping strategies, such as perceived social acknowledgment as a victim and disclosure, may be particularly important for former victims who have suffered institutional abuse.

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Citations

2 citations in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:2016
Deposited On:30 Apr 2015 12:08
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:14
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1360-7863
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1033677
PubMed ID:25915794

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