Emotion and resilience: a multilevel investigation of hemispheric electroencephalogram asymmetry and emotion regulation in maltreated and nonmaltreated children

Dev Psychopathol. 2007 Summer;19(3):811-40. doi: 10.1017/S0954579407000405.


The current study was a multilevel investigation of resilience, emotion regulation, and hemispheric electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry in a sample of maltreated and nonmaltreated school age children. It was predicted that the positive emotionality and increased emotion regulatory ability associated with resilient functioning would be associated with relatively greater left frontal EEG activity. The study also investigated differences in pathways to resilience between maltreated and nonmaltreated children. The findings indicated that EEG asymmetry across central cortical regions distinguished between resilient and nonresilient children, with greater left hemisphere activity characterizing those who were resilient. In addition, nonmaltreated children showed greater left hemisphere EEG activity across parietal cortical regions. There was also a significant interaction between resilience, maltreatment status, and gender for asymmetry at anterior frontal electrodes, where nonmaltreated resilient females had greater relative left frontal activity compared to more right frontal activity exhibited by resilient maltreated females. An observational measure of emotion regulation significantly contributed to the prediction of resilience in the maltreated and nonmaltreated children, but EEG asymmetry in central cortical regions independently predicted resilience only in the maltreated group. The findings are discussed in terms of their meaning for the development of resilient functioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Counseling
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires