Resilience Resources and Emotional and Behavioral Functioning Among Youth and Young Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Kully-Martens, K., Pei, J., McNeil, A. et al. Resilience Resources and Emotional and Behavioral Functioning Among Youth and Young Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Int J Ment Health Addiction (2021).


The purpose of this study was to describe the profile of individual, relational, and contextual resilience resources reported by youth with FASD and their caregivers and examine how these resources related to early childhood adversity, potential protective factors, and concurrent emotional and behavioral functioning.

Nineteen youth with FASD (aged 13 to 23 years) and their caregivers (foster or adoptive parents) completed the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM-28), the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC-2), and a detailed developmental history questionnaire.

Youth with FASD were reported to have comparable relational resilience resources to a typically developing reference group, but lower contextual resources compared to the reference group. Caregivers reported youth to have low individual resilience resources, but youth with FASD reported individual resources commensurate with the normative reference group.

Early childhood adversity, age, sex, and IQ were not significantly associated with resilience resources. However, earlier age of stable caregiving placement and earlier age at FASD diagnosis were associated with greater caregiver-reported relational and contextual resilience resources. Finally, higher youth- and caregiver-reported individual resources were associated with less mental health symptomology, and higher youth- and caregiver-reported individual and contextual resources were associated with better adaptive functioning behavior.

These findings complement previous research documenting the necessity of ensuring early stable relationships for youth with FASD and permitting timely access to diagnostic services. The results also highlight the need to better understand and strengthen individual and contextual resources.

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