Date Thesis Awarded

4-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Sarah W. Bisconer

Committee Members

Sarah W. Bisconer

Pamela S. Hunt

Sarah E.I. Menefee

Abstract

In the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, childhood trauma was shown to have a significant effect on later risk taking behaviors, mental illness, and physical health (Felitti et al., 1998). Positive experiences in childhood, called protective factors, were found to mitigate some of these effects. This study examined the relationship between early adversity, risk-taking behavior, mental health, and protective factors in a university sample. A survey was created to measure these variables and was completed by 342 university students. Results showed that early adversity was related to increased substance abuse, number of sexual partners, younger age of first sexual encounter, engagement in abusive relationships, sexual assault, self-harm behaviors, and the development of anxiety, depressive, and trauma disorders. Protective factors were found to be associated with lower rates of alcohol and nicotine use, engagement in abusive relationships, sexual assault, self-harm behaviors and development of anxiety, depressive, and trauma disorders. Implications for research and best treatment practices are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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