Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 54 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Elana B. Gordis

Committee Members

Hazel M. Prelow


children, community violence, cortisol, resilience, salivary alpha-amylase, stress, Resilience (Personality trait) in children, Stress in children, Children and violence, Violent crimes, Violence

Subject Categories



This study seeks to understand how resilience is affected by physiological stress responses in the context of community violence. The hypothesis of this paper is that physiological indicators of salivary cortisol and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) would moderate a relation between community violence exposure in children and the expression of resilience. Forty-nine children aged nine to twelve were recruited from an after-school program located in an area with high levels of community violence. Results supported our hypothesis for sAA as a moderator of the relation between community violence and resilience, such that at high sAA reactivity, a negative relation exists between community violence and resilience. These results are important in that they emphasize the need to mitigate physiological stress responses associated with increased sympathetic nervous system activity in order to increase children’s resilience to their difficult environmental circumstances. These implications may in turn help guide interventions for children living in areas with high levels of community violence.

Included in

Psychology Commons