Relationship between adverse early experiences, stressors, psychosocial resources and wellbeing

Child Abuse Negl. 2014 Jan;38(1):65-75. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.07.017. Epub 2013 Sep 6.


The study examined a diathesis stress model of the relationship between adverse child experiences (ACEs), stressors and psychosocial resources to explore their relationship with wellbeing. A cross sectional study was conducted across two mental health and addiction treatment centers. 176 individuals were interviewed using a demographics form, SCID-DSM-IV(First, Spitzer, Gibbon, &Williams, 2002), Child Trauma Questionnaire (Bernstein & Fink, 1998), NEO-Five Factor Inventory (Costa & McCrae, 1992), Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (Petrides, 2009), The Coping, Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) (Endler & Parker, 1990), Recent Life Events Questionnaire (Department of Health, 1985) and perceived social support from family, friends and religion. Multiple, regressions and correlations were used to analyze the data. All early experiences, except physical, abuse and death of a parent in childhood, were significantly correlated with increased number of, stressors and lower wellbeing scores. This is possibly because of sample specific issues. Number of stressors partially mediated the relationship between ACEs and wellbeing. Increased number of ACEs was related to higher neuroticism and emotion-focused coping and lower conscientiousness, agreeableness, trait emotional intelligence and task coping scores. These resources were significantly related to increased stressors and lower wellbeing. Distraction and emotion coping significantly moderated the relationship between number of stressors and wellbeing. These findings support the diathesis stress model and indicate that there are significant relationships between ACEs, psychosocial, resources, stressors and wellbeing. Recommendations to improve wellbeing are discussed.

Keywords: Abuse; Adverse child experiences; Psychosocial resources; Stress; Wellbeing.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroticism
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Young Adult