Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Pearl Berman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Krys Kaniasty, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

John A. Mills, Ph.D., ABPP

Abstract

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are linked to poor adult health (Felitti et al., 1998; Brown et al., 2010). Research on ACEs exposure in college students is lacking. This study examined the impact of ACEs, health risk behaviors, and resiliency factors on objective and subjective measures of health in college students. ACEs and health risk behaviors emerged as significant predictors of both measures of health. However, when resiliency factors were accounted for, gender and life satisfaction and perceived stress were the only significant predictors of health problems. Similarly, gender, health risk behaviors, social support and perceived stress were the only significant predictors of self-rated health. Gender and perceived stress emerged as predictors of health risk behavior engagement, the impact of ACE score approached significance. When less conservative models of mediation were used, health risk behaviors mediated the relationship between ACE score and both measures of health. Similarly, satisfaction with life and perceived stress mediated the relationship between ACE score and health problems. Social support and perceived stress mediated the relationship between ACE score and self-rated health. Findings suggest that ACE exposure has a lasting impact on health. The ability of resiliency factors to predict health has important implications for working with college students.

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