Childhood and adolescent resiliency, regulation, and executive functioning in relation to adolescent problems and competence in a high-risk sample

Michelle M. Martel, Joel T. Nigg, Maria M. Wong, Hiram E. Fitzgerald, Jennifer M. Jester, Leon I. Puttler, Jennifer M. Glass, Kenneth M. Adams, Robert A. Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations


This study first examined the respective relations of resiliency and reactive control with executive functioning. It then examined the relationship of these different domains to the development of academic and social outcomes, and to the emergence of internalizing and externalizing problem behavior in adolescence. Resiliency and reactive control were assessed from preschool to adolescence in a high-risk sample of boys and girls (n = 498) and then linked to component operations of neuropsychological executive functioning (i.e., response inhibition, interference control, fluency, working memory/set-shifting, planning, and alertness), assessed in early and late adolescence. Consistent, linear relations were found between resiliency and executive functions (average r = .17). A curvilinear relationship was observed between reactive control and resiliency, such that resiliency was weaker when reactive control was either very high or very low. In multivariate, multilevel models, executive functions contributed to academic competence, whereas resiliency and interference control jointly predicted social competence. Low resiliency, low reactive control, and poor response inhibition uniquely and additively predicted internalizing problem behavior, whereas low reactive control and poor response inhibition uniquely predicted externalizing problem behavior. Results are discussed in relation to recent trait models of regulation and the scaffolded development of competence and problems in childhood and adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-563
Number of pages23
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this