Whereas child personality, IQ, and family factors have been identified as enabling a resilient response to psychosocial adversity, more direct biological resilience factors have been less well delineated. This is particularly so for child attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which has received less attention from a resilience perspective than have associated externalizing disorders. Children from two independent samples were classified as resilient if they avoided developing ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), or conduct disorder (CD) in the face of family adversity. Two protective factors were examined for their potential relevance to prefrontal brain development: neuropsychological response inhibition, as assessed by the Stop task, and a composite catecholamine genotype risk score. Resilient children were characterized in both samples by more effective response inhibition, although the effect in the second sample was very small. Genotype was measured in Sample 1, and a composite high risk genotype index was developed by summing presence of risk across markers on three genes expressed in prefrontal cortex: dopamine transporter, dopamine D4 receptor, and noradrenergic alpha-2 receptor. Genotype was a reliable resilience indicator against development of ADHD and CD, but not ODD, in the face of psychosocial adversity. Results illustrate potential neurobiological protective factors related to development of prefrontal cortex that may enable children to avoid developing ADHD and CD in the presence of psychosocial adversity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health