Barriers to college success among students that experienced adverse childhood events

J Am Coll Health. 2019 Aug-Sep;67(6):531-540. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2018.1498851. Epub 2018 Sep 19.


Objective: 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.

Keywords: Academic success; adverse childhood experiences; college students; college success; mental health.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Success*
  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Adverse Events / psychology*
  • Adult Survivors of Child Adverse Events / statistics & numerical data
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult