More than therapy: The link between adverse childhood experiences, social support, and therapeutic services

Megan Ronnenberg, Aislinn Conrad, Armeda Stevenson Wojciak, Elizabeth Menninga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have a cumulative effect on physical, emotional, and social well-being throughout the life course. ACEs also impact parenting practices, which may contribute to intergenerational cycles of trauma. Access to child mental health services and caregiver social support are two protective factors that may reduce the burden of ACEs. To advance understanding of the relationships between caregiver social support and child mental health services among caregivers with ACEs, we interviewed 13 caregivers of young children receiving outpatient mental health services. Thematic analysis revealed the integral role of therapeutic providers in the social support circles of caregivers with high ACE scores. Caregivers frequently named therapeutic providers as the first point of contact in a problem situation. Implications for social work research, clinical practice, and advocacy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-693
Number of pages11
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Keywords

  • adverse childhood experiences
  • children's mental health
  • qualitative study
  • social support

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