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Relationship Between Adverse Early Experiences, Stressors, Psychosocial Resources and Wellbeing

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2014 Pages: 65-75
Sharon McElroy; David Hevey
Date Published
January 2014
11 pages
This study examined the association between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), stressors, and well-being scores, as well as whether the number of current stressors mediates the relationship between ACEs and well-being.
The study found that generally the increased number of ACEs was related to higher neuroticism and lower conscientiousness, agreeableness, and "trait emotional intelligence" (TEI) scores. The findings support the theory that early internal working models of attachment or caring experiences organize and influence subsequent personality development and interpersonal relations throughout the life cycle (Blatt & Blass, 1990). In addition, this study adds to the literature by showing that lower task-focused and higher emotion-focused coping were related to increased stressors and lower well-being. The study findings suggest that individuals' abuse histories should be assessed, since many ACEs may be impacting on the individual. Abuse victims should be provided with intervention that helps them manage stressors so as to improve their sense of well-being. Therapy should focus on increasing TEI, extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and task-focused behaviors, while diminishing emotion-focused coping, avoidance behaviors, and social isolation. This was a cross-sectional study conducted across two mental health and addiction treatment centers. A total of 176 individuals were assessed with instruments administered to measure personality traits, TEI, early childhood experiences, behaviors for coping with stress, recent life events, and social support. 3 tables, 3 figures, and 76 references