What do undergraduates with high levels of childhood adversity want to cope with stress?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: We aimed to determine how universities can tailor delivery of stress-related interventions and intervention-related messages for students with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Method: We assessed 762 undergraduates (76% female; average age = 20.3) on an expanded ACEs measure, stress, health, and past use of interventions and what types of interventions they would like to cope with stress. We also experimentally manipulated websites advertising mental health services to test whether certain message frames and types of intervention delivery would appeal differentially to students with more ACEs. Results: ACEs were associated with worse health, more stress, and a greater likelihood of having used health-related interventions. Students with more ACEs were more willing to try the interventions on the websites, regardless of messaging and type of delivery. They also expressed a greater desire for face-to-face interactions centered on mental health. Conclusions: School-wide adoption of ACE-informed policies can change lifelong trajectories of students with ACEs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-240
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of clinical psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 13 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC


  • adverse childhood experiences
  • interventions
  • message framing
  • stress
  • undergraduates

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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