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Title: Adverse childhood experience, psychological distress and offending : the role of emotional intelligence and related concepts
Author: Hart, Jacqui Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 0892
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2014
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Despite evidence to suggest that pathways from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) to psychological distress and offending are gender-specific, theory-driven research examining intervening factors in such pathways is rare. Utilising a mixed-method design, the research presented in this thesis aimed to a) provide further insight into gender-specific trajectories from ACEs to negative outcomes and b) to identify a theoretically viable framework within which to conduct such research. It was anticipated that comparing and contrasting the quantitative (Study 1 and Study 2) with the qualitative (Study 3) findings would help to inform interventions to reduce female offending. The literature review identified an attachment framework as appropriate for the research and highlighted a range of factors that warranted investigation. The findings from an internet survey (Study 1) in a mixed-gender community sample provided some support for the notion of genderspecific pathways to offending. Moreover, several variables were identified (e.g. emotional intelligence, empathy and anger) that warranted further examination in a second survey (Study 2) with a sample of women with a history of ACEs (ex- and non-offenders). The findings from the two studies suggested that emotion coping and management (EI) skills may foster resilience to negative experiences and also provided support for the use of an attachment framework in research that examines the negative sequelae of ACEs. The qualitative study (Study 3) utilised interpretative phenomenological analysis in order to gain a deeper insight into women’s trajectories from ACEs to psychological distress and offending. The findings strongly suggested that interventions may need to target deficits in emotion regulation in order to ameliorate the potential negative outcomes of chronic childhood adversity. The importance of context was also highlighted. Additionally, EI and an emotional approach to coping were identified as factors that were beneficial in terms of the women’s psychological well-being. The findings from the research highlighted emotion coping and management skills as useful targets for intervention in women ex-offender populations with a history of ACEs and associated psychological distress. Based on the findings reported in this thesis, recommendations were made with regard to future research in the field of ACEs, psychological distress and offending.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: C810 Applied Psychology ; adverse childhood experiences ; psychological distress ; female offenders ; emotional intelligence