Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Stress, and Social Support on the Health of College Students

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72 Scopus citations


The goal of the study was to describe the nature of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) reported by undergraduates and to examine the effect of ACEs, perceived stress, and perceived social support on their health. Although respondents (N = 321) had parents with relatively high levels of education and indicated generally high levels of social support, results nevertheless showed a relatively high level of mental health problems and rates of ACEs that were similar to those in the general population in the state. Those with higher levels of ACEs had greater levels of stress and lower levels of social support. ACEs, social support, and stress explained more than half the variance in mental health scores, with stress making the greatest contribution. Despite the fact that we used different measures and an independent sample, findings generally replicated a previous study. Results point to a need to increase awareness of the association between ACEs and health on college campuses, to examine the effects of ACEs in more detail, and to design ACE-informed programs for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-172
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.


  • adverse childhood experiences
  • mental health
  • social support
  • stress

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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