Arnekrans, A. K., Calmes, S. A., Laux, J. M., Roseman, C. P., Piazza, N. J., Reynolds, J. L., Harmening, D., & Scott, H. L. (2018). College Students’ Experiences of Childhood Developmental Traumatic Stress: Resilience, First‐Year Academic Performance, and Substance Use. Journal of College Counseling21(1), 2–14. 
Link/Abstract ResearchGate:
Developmental trauma—distressing childhood experiences that include mistreatment, interpersonal violence, abuse, assault, and neglect—is associated with substance use and poor academic performance. The authors investigated the links between developmental trauma, grade point average, substance use, and resilience among first‐year college students (<italic>N</italic> = 169). The results indicate there is a significant relationship between cumulative trauma and self‐reported substance use.

Bhawal, Ritika, Tyler Smith and Besa Smith. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resilience Factors Associated with Higher Education Success. Exploratory Research in Health. DOI: 10.35831/sor/er/RB2019
Citation/Abstract/Link to Full Text by Spotlight On Research:
Student success in institutions of higher education is of mounting importance as the link between education, health, and well-being grows. This study investigates adverse childhood experiences (ACE) that may confer resilience or may negatively impact a student’s educational success independent of other known factors for educational achievement. Methods: A cross-sectional survey-based study was conducted using the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to investigate a large representative US Population of 25-35 year-olds (n=2,543) that were surveyed on ACE measures. Univariate and weighted multivariable logistic regression models focused on educational success in those with and without ACE factors are presented. All data management and analyses were conducted using SAS® 9.4. Results: Each single level increase of ACE reporting indicated an unadjusted 5% decrease in odds for obtaining some college or a college degree. Adjusting for other ACEs, demographic, socioeconomic, behavioral, and health factors, parental depression and mental illness in childhood was associated with college success, while those who experienced parental drug use, prison time, divorce, and being physically hurt at home as a child had statistically significantly lower odds of college success. Other significant predictors of academic success included being female, normal weight, never smoking, never being married, reporting good/excellent health, and exercising with a c-statistic of 0.88 indicating a strong prediction model. Conclusions: Higher education success and the myriad of associated public health benefit requires significant student and institutional interaction to be flexible enough to engage traditional as well as adult, non-traditional, and underserved student populations. Understanding the modifiable and non-modifiable constellation of health and well-being factors will better allow a more population-based student-centered approach to higher education. 

Colburn, A. R., Kremer, K. P., & Jackson, D. B. (2021). Early trauma and psychosocial outcomes among college students. Children & Youth Services Review126, N.PAG. 
Link/Abstract ResearchGate:
ACEs significantly predicted student stress, social support, and mental health. • Stress was most strongly related to emotional neglect/abuse and domestic violence. • Social support had the strongest relationship with emotional and physical neglect. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as physical abuse and family dysfunction are associated with long-term health outcomes. Even so, research on the link between ACEs and psychosocial outcomes is relatively underdeveloped. The present study sought to understand the relationship between ACEs, stress, social support, and mental health. 722 college students attending three universities located within the Midwestern and Southern United States completed self-report surveys related to their history of ACEs and current stress, social support, and mental health. Using ordinary least squares regression, we explored the relationship between ACES and psychosocial outcomes. We found an increasing number of ACEs to significantly predict stress, social support, and mental health. We further explored the relationship between each ACE and the outcomes of interest, observing emotional neglect, emotional abuse, and family member mental illness to have the strongest relationship with stress while emotional neglect and emotional abuse were most strongly related to social support. Higher education administrators and staff seeking to improve the mental health of their students should explore opportunities to enhance stress coping mechanisms and available social support.

Doughty, Kristen. Increasing trauma informed awareness in higher education. Wilmington University (Delaware), 2018.   Dissertation.  
Document Preview & Dissertation for purchase via ProQuest.

Duncan, R. D. (2000). Childhood Maltreatment and College Drop-Out Rates: Implications for Child Abuse Researchers. Journal of Interpersonal Violence15(9), 987. 
Link/Abstract by ResearchGate:
This study, which followed 210 freshmen through 4 years of college, found that by their second semester in college, students who reported experiencing more than one form of childhood abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional) and those who were sexually assaulted but not otherwise maltreated were significantly less likely to be enrolled than nonvictims. By the end of their senior years, only 35% of multiple victims, 50% of those sexually abused only, and 60% of nonvictims were enrolled Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the 2nd week of the freshman year were significantly related to college attendance at the 4th year, with a significant interaction between PTSD and abuse history as they related to remaining in or dropping out of college. Unless researchers studying the impact of childhood trauma in college samples are examining first-semester freshmen, it is likely that the research is being conducted with only the healthiest of survivors, which could lead to inaccurate conclusions about the abuse population as a whole.

Hedrick, J., Bennett, V., Carpenter, J., Dercher, L., Grandstaff, D., Gosch, K., Grier, L., Meek, V., Poskin, M., Shotton, E., & Waterman, J. (2021). A descriptive study of adverse childhood experiences and depression, anxiety, and stress among undergraduate nursing students. Journal of Professional Nursing37(2), 291–297. 
Link/Abstract by ScienceDirect:
The 10-point Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) score measures childhood exposure to traumatic events. An ACEs score of 4 or higher has been associated with long-term physical and mental health problems, and increased mortality. It is unclear if the rates of undergraduate nursing students experiencing ACEs is different from the general population, and what impact ACEs has on nursing students’ depression, anxiety and stress. The purpose of this study was to assess the rate of ACEs in nursing students and to examine the relationship between ACEs and perceived depression, anxiety, and stress among undergraduate nursing students. This is a descriptive correlational study to determine Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) scores and Modified Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21) scores for undergraduate pre-licensure students at a private mid-western college. Students’ ACEs scores were correlated with DASS-21 scores and demographic data. 409 students volunteered to participate in the study. Seventeen percent of students had high ACEs scores (≥4). Those students with high ACEs scores also scored statically significantly higher on the DASS-21 items relating to depression, anxiety, and stress. Results from this study demonstrated that many nursing students have experienced ACEs and nursing students with ACEs scores of 4 or higher had higher rates of depression, anxiety, and stress. These findings should drive faculty in nursing programs to acknowledge the prevalence of ACEs among their nursing students and recognize that impact on the mental health of students. • In this study of undergraduate nursing students, 17% of those surveyed had an ACEs score of 4 or higher. • Students with ACEs scores of 4 or more had increased depression, anxiety, and stress scores. • Faculty should acknowledge the prevalence of ACEs among students and recognize the impact on their mental health.

Grigsby, T. J., Rogers, C. J., Albers, L. D., Benjamin, S. M., Lust, K., Eisenberg, M. E., & Forster, M. (2020). Adverse Childhood Experiences and Health Indicators in a Young Adult, College Student Sample: Differences by Gender. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine27(6), 660–667. 
Link/Citation by National Library of Medicine/PubMed:
The original Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study demonstrated strong, graded relationships between child maltreatment and household dysfunction and adult health status. The present study re-examined these relationships in a sample of young adult, college students to better characterize the developmental timing of health problems related to ACE exposure and differences by biological sex. Method: A cross-sectional general health questionnaire that included items on ACE was administered to young adults (ages 18–29) at universities in California (n = 3880), Minnesota (n = 7708), and Texas (n = 451) between 2017 and 2018. Seven ACE were assessed: psychological, physical, or sexual abuse; violence between parents; or living with household members who were substance misusers, mentally ill, or ever imprisoned. Binary health indicators were regressed on number of ACE as 0 (referent), 1, 2, 3, and 4 or more using logistic regression controlling for age, biological sex, race/ethnicity, and site. Results: Approximately 51.7% of the sample reported at least one ACE with a significantly higher rate among Texas participants (p < 0.001). We observed graded relationships between levels of ACE exposure and physical, mental, and behavioral health indicators including cigarette use, e-cigarette use, drinking and driving, obesity, lifetime depression, suicide ideation and attempt, non-suicidal self-injury, and lack of restful sleep. ACE-exposed females reported worse mental health status than ACE-exposed males while males reported more substance use than females. Most outcomes did not vary significantly by sex. Conclusion: The strong, graded relationships observed between ACE exposure and health status among young adults reinforce the need for trauma-informed intervention programs on college campuses.

Hinojosa, R., Nguyen, J., Sellers, K., & Elassar, H. (2019). Barriers to college success among students that experienced adverse childhood events. Journal of American College Health67(6), 531–540. 
Link/Citation by National Library of Medicine/PubMed:
This study examines the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and academic barriers to college success. Participants: College students (n = 525) were surveyed about exposure to ACEs and academic barriers on a large university campus in the Southeast. Methods: Multivariate regression was used to model the academic barriers among college students for students with different levels of ACEs exposure controlling for depression, health and family barriers, and sociodemographic characteristics. Results: Students with ACEs reported more family difficulties and health problems compared with those without ACEs. Depressive symptomology, poorer health ratings, and other health and family issues significantly predicted higher counts of academic barriers. Conclusions: Students with ACEs face greater difficulty with relation to health and family barriers which in turn impacts academic barriers.

Houtepen, L. C., Heron, J., Suderman, M. J., Fraser, A., Chittleborough, C. R., & Howe, L. D. (2020). Associations of adverse childhood experiences with educational attainment and adolescent health and the role of family and socioeconomic factors: A prospective cohort study in the UK. PLoS Medicine17(3), 1–21. 
Link/Citation by National Library of Medicine/PubMed:
Experiencing multiple adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is a risk factor for many adverse outcomes. We explore associations of ACEs with educational attainment and adolescent health and the role of family and socioeconomic factors in these associations. Methods and Findings: Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a prospective cohort of children born in southwest England in 1991-1992, we assess associations of ACEs between birth and 16 years (sexual, physical, or emotional abuse; emotional neglect; parental substance abuse; parental mental illness or suicide attempt; violence between parents; parental separation; bullying; and parental criminal conviction, with data collected on multiple occasions between birth and age 16) with educational attainment at 16 years (n = 9,959) and health at age 17 years (depression, obesity, harmful alcohol use, smoking, and illicit drug use; n = 4,917). We explore the extent to which associations are robust to adjustment for family and socioeconomic factors (home ownership, mother and partner’s highest educational qualification, household social class, parity, child’s ethnicity, mother’s age, mother’s marital status, mother’s depression score at 18 and 32 weeks gestation, and mother’s partner’s depression score at 18 weeks gestation) and whether associations differ according to socioeconomic factors, and we estimate the proportion of adverse educational and health outcomes attributable to ACEs or family or socioeconomic measures. Among the 9,959 participants (49.5% female) included in analysis of educational outcomes, 84% reported at least one ACE, 24% reported 4 or more ACEs, and 54.5% received 5 or more General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSEs) at grade C or above, including English and Maths. Among the 4,917 participants (50.1% female) included in analysis of health outcomes, 7.3% were obese, 8.7% had depression, 19.5% reported smoking, 16.1% reported drug use, and 10.9% reported harmful alcohol use. There were associations of ACEs with lower educational attainment and higher risk of depression, drug use, and smoking. For example, odds ratios (ORs) for 4+ ACEs compared with no ACEs after adjustment for confounders were depression, 2.4 (1.6-3.8, p < 0.001); drug use, 3.1 (2.1-4.4, p < 0.001); and smoking, 2.3 (1.7-3.1, p < 0.001). Associations with educational attainment attenuated after adjustment but remained strong; for example, the OR after adjustment for confounders for low educational attainment comparing 4+ ACEs with no ACEs was 2.0 (1.7-2.4, p < 0.001). Associations with depression, drug use, and smoking were not altered by adjustment. Associations of ACEs with harmful alcohol use and obesity were weak. For example, ORs for 4+ ACEs compared with no ACEs after adjustment for confounders were harmful alcohol use, 1.4 (0.9-2.0, p = 0.10) and obesity, 1.4 (0.9-2.2, p = 0.13) We found no evidence that socioeconomic factors modified the associations of ACEs with educational or health outcomes. Population attributable fractions (PAFs) for the adverse educational and health outcomes range from 5%-15% for 4+ ACEs and 1%-19% for low maternal education. Using data from multiple questionnaires across a long period of time enabled us to capture a detailed picture of the cohort members’ experience of ACEs; however, a limitation of our study is that this resulted in a high proportion of missing data, and our analyses assume data are missing at random.Conclusions: This study demonstrates associations between ACEs and lower educational attainment and higher risks of depression, drug use, and smoking that remain after adjustment for family and socioeconomic factors. The low PAFs for both ACEs and socioeconomic factors imply that interventions that focus solely on ACEs or solely on socioeconomic deprivation, whilst beneficial, would miss most cases of adverse educational and health outcomes. This interpretation suggests that intervention strategies should target a wide range of relevant factors, including ACEs, socioeconomic deprivation, parental substance use, and mental health.

Karatekin C. (2018). Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Stress and Mental Health in College Students. Stress and health : journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 34(1), 36–45.
Link/Abstract National Library of Medicine/PubMed:
The goal of this short-term longitudinal study was to examine whether adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) could be used to identify college students at risk for mental health problems and whether current level of stress mediates the relationship between ACEs and mental health. Data on ACEs and mental health (depression, anxiety and suicidality) were collected at the beginning of the semester, and data on current stressors and mental health were collected toward the end of the semester (n = 239). Findings indicated that ACEs predicted worsening of mental health over the course of a semester and suggested current number of stressors as a mediator of the relationship between ACEs and mental health. Results suggest that screening for ACEs might be useful to identify students at high risk for deterioration in mental health. Results further suggest that stress-related interventions would be beneficial for students with high levels of ACEs and point to the need for more research and strategies to increase help-seeking in college students.

Long, A. C. (2018). Effect of Stress Mindset and Adverse Childhood Experiences on College Students’ Academic Success and Psychological Well-Being [ProQuest LLC]. In ProQuest LLC. Dissertation.
Link/Abstract/Excerpt by ProQuest:
Adverse life events that occur in childhood may decrease an individual’s ability to effectively cope with challenges throughout their lives. The proper management of stress is essential to avoid problems that can crop up in all areas of life. College students who employ stress management tactics are better able to achieve well-being and academic success. This study examined the potential moderating association between “from within” coping supports or internal risk factors and academic success, mental health, and resilience qualities. Using a sample of college students at a large public university in the southeastern United States, this study demonstrates that viewing stress in a negative way may increase a student’s chances of failing to cope well with difficulty. Similarly, results of the analysis demonstrate that high perceived stress increases college students’ mental health issues and may diminish their capacity to cope with the challenges of the college environment. University officials may use the results from this study to inform policy and practice to address students’ ability to cope with stress and succeed academically. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]

Read, J. P., Ouimette, P., White, J., Colder, C., & Farrow, S. (2011). Rates of DSM-IV-TR Trauma Exposure and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Newly Matriculated College Students. Psychological Trauma : Theory, Research, Practice and Policy3(2), 148–156. 
Link/Abstract by ResearchGate:
The negotiation of the freedoms and responsibilities introduced as adolescents begin college may be particularly challenging for those with a trauma history and traumatic stress sequelae (posttraumatic stress disorder; PTSD). The present study examined the prevalence of and risk for trauma and PTSD in a large sample of college students. Matriculating students ( N = 3,014; 1,763 female, 1,251 male) at two U.S. universities completed online and paper assessments. Sixty-six percent reported exposure to a Criterion A trauma. Nine percent met criteria for PTSD. Female gender was a risk factor for trauma exposure. Gender and socioeconomic status (SES) were associated with trauma severity. Although in bivariate models, gender and SES were associated with PTSD, multivariate analyses suggested this risk was a function of trauma severity. Thus, students enter college with significant trauma histories and PTSD symptoms. Findings highlight the potential for outreach to incoming students with trauma and point to research directions to enhance understanding of the psychological needs of entering college students.

Richardson, W., Pitts, C., Reed, S. F., & Kent, J. (2018). Quality of Life of Minority Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Adult Higher Education Alliance.
Link/Abstract by Semantic Scholar:
Adults with unresolved Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) present a unique opportunity for universities to support students as they strive toward positive change. As marginalized students seek to improve their lives, they often utilize higher education as their means. Traditionally, this path has not been easy to for students to navigate, nor have institutions been tolerant or sensitive to the challenges they face. All students bring diverse issues, but those of the adult, minority student associated with ACEs, present a greater barrier to academic success. A strengths-based, ACEs-informed system within institutions to help students buffer the often-daunting higher education environment creates a more beneficial educational experience.

Sieben, A., Renner, L. M., Lust, K., Vang, W., & Nguyen, R. H. N. (2020). Adverse Childhood Experiences Among Asian/Pacific Islander Sexual Minority College Students. Journal of Family Violence35(3), 297–303. 
Link/Abstract by Research Gate:
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) remain understudied among people with multiple minority identities. Individuals with multiple minority identities, such as being both a sexual and racial minority, may experience a greater number of ACEs through an intersection of disadvantages. For Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs), this juxtaposes with previously reported lower rates of ACEs compared to most other racial/ethnic groups. We sought to determine whether ACEs differed among API sexual minorities compared to others. In this study, we examined whether ACEs were more frequent among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) API college students compared to majority students. We used data from the 2015 College Student Health Survey to estimate the prevalence of ACEs among respondents and compared ACE prevalence between LGB and heterosexual students by race. LGB students reported a higher mean in overall ACE exposure than heterosexual counterparts, regardless of race (2.8 and 1.8 for LGB API vs. heterosexual API, respectively, p < 0.01). The distribution of specific ACEs differed for APIs versus non-APIs, with some significantly higher, and some lower, for APIs than non-APIs. Our findings revealed that significant disparities in ACEs between LGB and heterosexuals exist among APIs, even in the presence of the altered distribution of ACEs when compared to other races. Continued investigation into the unique ACE exposures of sexual minority APIs is needed to eventually inform prevention practices.

Smyth, J. M., Hockemeyer, J. R., Heron, K. E., Wonderlich, S. A., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2008). Prevalence, Type, Disclosure, and Severity of Adverse Life Events in College Students. Journal of American College Health, 57(1), 69–76. 
Link/Abstract by ResearchGate:
Some information on the prevalence of adverse life experiences is available for the general population and college students, but the extent, nature, and severity of these events is unclear. Participants: The authors recruited undergraduate college students (N = 6,053) from diverse academic settings (public and private schools) and geographic locations. Methods: They examined the prevalence, nature, severity, and disclosure of adverse events, in addition to reports of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology within the sample. Results: Across multiple studies, prevalence rates of adverse events ranged from 55.8% to 84.5%, replicating previous findings in larger samples. In a subset of undergraduate students (n = 97) who the authors interviewed in greater depth, 9% reported symptoms of clinical PTSD and an additional 11% reported subclinical symptoms. Conclusions: Research using college samples for the study of stressful life events is a useful and reasonable strategy. The authors discuss implications for research.

Taylor, D. L., Espeleta, H. C., Kraft, J. D., & Grant, D. M. (2021). Early childhood experiences and cognitive risk factors for anxiety symptoms among college students. Journal of American College Health69(3), 268–274. 
Link/Abstract by National Library of Medicine/PubMed:
Data indicate that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are a risk factor for cognitive and attentional vulnerabilities. A vulnerability linked to these impairments is repetitive negative thinking (RNT), and data suggest that RNT and anxiety symptoms may be moderated by attentional control. The current study investigated the effect of these risk factors on symptoms of anxiety. Participants: College students (N = 376) were recruited from a university. Methods: Participants were administered questionnaires online to assess retrospective ACEs, current RNT, attentional control, and anxiety symptoms. Results: There was an indirect effect of ACEs on anxiety symptoms through RNT. High attentional control moderated the indirect effects, such that high compared to low attentional control was associated with an increased effect of RNT on anxiety symptoms. Conclusions: Increased ACEs may be a risk factor for RNT among college students. Combined with high attentional control, these may be risk factors for anxiety symptoms.

Watt, T., Ceballos, N., Kim, S., Pan, X., & Sharma, S. (2020). The Unique Nature of Depression and Anxiety among College Students with Adverse Childhood Experiences. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 13(2), 163–172. 
Link/Abstract by National Library of Medicine/PubMed:
It is well established that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) contribute to the development of mental disorders in adulthood. However, less is known about how childhood trauma impacts the mind and the body, whether the resulting mental disorders have different characteristics than those occurring without these antecedent conditions, and if treatment modalities need to reflect the unique nature of mental disorders rooted in trauma. Survey and biomarker data were gathered from a sample of college students(n = 93) to explore the relationship between childhood trauma and mental health. We examine how neuroimmune systems(inflammation and neuroplasticity) relate to depression and anxiety and whether these associations vary for those with andwithout a history of childhood trauma. Findings reveal that students with 4 or more ACEs are more likely to have depression and anxiety than students without these experiences. In addition, we find that inflammation (CRP) and neuronal health (BDNF)are associated with mental health disorders among students with four or more ACEs, but not for students without this history.These findings suggest that mental disorders associated with four or more ACEs may be uniquely tied to physiological processes,and consequently, warrant tailored treatments. The implications for mental health intervention include, 1) screening for childhood trauma, inflammation, and neuronal health and 2) referral to treatments which are theoretically and empirically tied to the rootcauses of mental disorders rather than those designed merely to suppress their symptoms.