Using Path Modeling to Investigate the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Post-Traumatic Growth through Meaning-Making, Resilience, and PTSD Symptoms
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair
Background: Research has revealed an important relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and post-traumatic growth (PTG) through direct and indirect processes, involving three probable mediators, meaning-making, resilience, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, little is known about how these processes work together to shape PTG.
Aim: The current study examines the relationship between cumulative ACEs and PTG through meaning-making, resilience, and PTSD symptoms, in a comprehensive dynamic framework model using path modeling.
Method: A sample of 759 undergraduate psychology students (ages 18+) completed self- report measures through a 30-minute online survey that assessed their levels of ACEs, PTG, meaning-making, resilience, and PTSD symptoms. Path modeling inferential analyses were conducted in a cross-sectional study design.
Results: Findings revealed a significant direct pathway between cumulative ACEs and PTG, and two indirect pathways between cumulative ACEs and PTG that were negatively mediated by meaning-making and positively mediated by PTSD symptoms. However, resilience was not a significant mediator between cumulative ACEs and PTG. All pathways had a positive association except the associations between cumulative ACEs with meaning-making and with resilience.
Conclusion: Experiencing ACEs not only increases the likelihood of PTG in adulthood but this relationship is mediated by meaning-making and PTSD symptoms. This study shows that there is hope for growth for those individuals who experience ACEs and PTSD psychopathology post-ACEs by learning how to create meaning from an adverse event.
Kshtriya, Sowmya, "Using Path Modeling to Investigate the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Post-Traumatic Growth through Meaning-Making, Resilience, and PTSD Symptoms" (2023). Theses, Dissertations and Culminating Projects. 1254.