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Title: Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences in an undergraduate student population : associations with health, education and social services
Author: McGavock , Lian
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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An online survey was conducted to glean the self-reported experiences of childhood adversity amongst a university student population. The survey, known as The Big Ask, included: the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) 10-item questionnaire - a retrospective measure of neglect, abuse and household dysfunction; subjective measures of conflict-related experiences and inter-/intra- community violence, and self-rated measures of health status and life satisfaction. These variables were examined for association with Academic Resilience and levels of social service contact. All full -time, first year undergraduates of Queen's University, Belfast (N "" 41 14) received an email directing them to the study website. The study response rate was 18.6% (n = 765) and results for this student population were on par with those across whole population studies in the United States. Some 56% (n " 429) of respondents reported at least one adversity. Over 12% (n - 95) reported an ACE score of 4+. Logistic regression showed gender and school-type to be non-significant with regard to ACE score, nor was there significant effect of religious affiliation on ACE. Entitlement to Free School Meals, witnessing • community violence sometimes or often, being personally affected by the 'Troubles' quite a bit or an extreme amount and having an Access qualification were all significant predictors of an ACE score of 4+ (p < 0.001). Respondents exposed to Household Mental Illness (over one-third of sample) were most likely to have experienced no further adversities. Eight-six per cent of those who witnessed domestic violence, however, experienced at least three additional adversities. Those in the 4+ACE group were 23 times more likely to have been in contact with social services, than those who reported no childhood adversities. Surprisingly, life satisfaction was shown to mitigate the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences within the sample. Those with high levels of life satisfaction were found to have better health and education outcomes - regardless of number of Adverse Childhood Experiences reported - than those with low life satisfaction yet no reported experiences of childhood adversity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available