Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Tracey Revenson

Second Advisor

Jennifer Ford

Academic Program Adviser

Martin Chodorow


Children and adolescents who experience adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) often must deal with mental and physical effects lasting well into adulthood. However, much research shows ACEs are related to poorer mental and physical health in adulthood. Much less work has focused on the psychological and social resources that can create resilience. This study examined how compensatory social support and coping strategies potentially moderate the relationship between ACEs and mental health outcomes, and if the age/developmental stage at which the ACEs occurred, and the frequency and intensity of the ACEs affected mental health. Self-report data were obtained from 241 emerging adults, ages 18-29, through an online Qualtrics survey. Measures included a 15-item measure of ACES, two coping strategies (subscales of the Brief Cope), and several indicators of mental health (depressive symptoms, anxiety, and resilience). Results showed that the number of ACEs participants experienced was significantly and positively correlated with depressive symptoms and anxiety but was not related to resilience. Two “Shift-and-persist coping strategies” (Chen & Miller, 2012), positive reframing and problem-solving, were significantly related to anxiety but not depression or resilience. There was no support for the stress-buffering potential of coping strategies or compensatory support. The direct relationships between ACES and COPING with anxiety and/or depression suggest that new research in this area needs to address these issues more deeply.

Included in

Psychology Commons



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