Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services

Committee Director

Edward Neukrug

Committee Member

Kaprea F. Johnson

Committee Member

Narketta M. Sparkman-Key

Committee Member

Andrew P. Daire


Childhood adversity is prevalent and significantly influences an individual’s life. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are linked to chronic physical and mental health issues, as well as maladaptive and abusive patterns of behavior in adult relationships such as unhealthy problem-solving strategies, poor ability at conflict resolution, and intimate partner violence (IPV). The current study explored the relationship between ACEs and adult relationship health outcomes. Controlling for the effect of average individual yearly income on adult relationship health, the extent to which demographic factors (i.e., gender, race and ethnicity, and children status) moderate the relationship between ACEs and adult relationship health and the extent to which behavioral self-regulation mediates the relationship between ACEs and adult relationship health are examined. The study utilized a subset of archival pre-data from a large, federally funded research grant which offered individual and couple relationship education (RE) to economically marginalized, racially and ethnically diverse populations. Descriptive statistics, correlational analyses, multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA), and path analysis answered the research questions and tested the path models. Results indicated the increased prevalence rate of ACEs among racially and ethnically diverse populations. Further, higher ACEs scores were associated with lower adult relationship health scores. There were no significant interaction effects with gender, race and ethnicity, and children status, and no significant indirect effects with behavioral self-regulation scores. Additionally, income was not a significant covariate. Study implications as well as effective and accessible preventive interventions for at risk populations are discussed.


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