Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services



Committee Director

Gülşah Kemer

Committee Member

Randy Gainey

Committee Member

Alan Schwitzer


Police officers are subject to a variety of stressors not only from job-related events resulting from direct or vicarious trauma exposure (Andersen & Papazoglou, 2014; Brown et al., 1999; Iversen et al., 2008) but also from family and personal concerns (Burke, 1998; Page & Jacobs, 2011), and administrative pressures originating from within their own agencies (Violanti et al., 2018; White et al., 2016). Prior to their careers as police officers, individuals may also be exposed to traumatic events early in life. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are described as negative events related to emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or neglect, exposure to domestic violence or substance abuse, or environments where mental health problems, or incarceration are part of every-day life (McRae et al., 2021; Molina & Whittaker, 2022; Montgomery et al., 2013). ACEs exposure, combined with the exposure to stressors from police work, may lead to negative consequences for police officers in their professional careers and personal lives. Recently, researchers have started to shift the focus from detrimental factors that influence police officer behaviors or wellbeing to a more positive focus on how to improve overall wellbeing of police officers (Phythian et al., 2022) including the concept of resilience and how it impacts officer’s wellness (Romosiou et al., 2019). Current literature focuses on resilience as a process or function (Bonanno, 2012) but there is a gap in the literature about the individual components that comprise resilience. The purpose of this study was to investigate the components of resilience and explore the role of ACEs on resilience in police officers. A non-experimental, correlational approach, hierarchical regression analysis (Creswell & Creswell, 2018) yielded statistically significant results. More specifically, consisting of demographic data of age, race identity, gender identity, and education level, Block 1 did not show any statistical significance (R2 change = .038, p = .321). Similarly, Block 2, including veteran status and years of police service, did not show any significant change in the dependent variable (R2 change = .017, p = .345), either. Of the three blocks, only Block 3 with the ACEs scores showed statistical significance (R2 change = .067, p = .004). The findings of this study inform and influence police agency policy and improve police officer training to increase wellness in officers while providing directions to counselor education programs and practicing counselors working with police officers.


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