Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Harvey Burnett

Second Advisor

Karl Bailey


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) refer to traumatic sources of stress that a child may endure before the age of 18 such as household dysfunction, neglect, various types of abuse (i.e., physical, verbal, sexual), parental separation, and witnessing violence. These kinds of traumatic experiences have been linked to poor mental, emotional, social, and physical health in adulthood. Researchers found associations between early childhood experiences of abuse and individuals' later abusive parenting of their own children. Although the effects of ACEs can have detrimental consequences, resilience-both internal and external-can mitigate these negative effects

through the use of protective factors such as personal coping skills and social support. The study examined the predicting relationship between adverse childhood experiences and the quality of current parenting practices. In addition, it examined the role of resilience as a protective factor in this relationship. A nested hierarchical regression showed that ACEs were not a significant predictor of positive or negative parenting practices. Instead, resilience was a substantial direct predictor of positive parenting practices and parental stress was a substantial direct predictor of negative parenting practices. Furthermore, an interaction between ACEs and resilience found

that individuals with a high ACE score and high resilience used corporal punishment than individuals with a high ACE score and low resilience . These results suggest an intergenerational trauma cycle in which childhood trauma is passed down through negative parenting practices.

Researching ACEs within a framework that incorporates the parent-child relationship highlights the importance of decreasing parental stress and improving positive parenting to break this trauma cycle.

Subject Area

Stress in children; Child abuse; Parent and child

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.


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