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A Study of the Relationship Between Adverse Childhood Experiences, Life Events, and Executive Function Among College Students in China


A Study of the Relationship Between Adverse Childhood Experiences, Life Events, and Executive Function Among College Students in China

Shanling Ji et al. Psicol Reflex Crit.


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of adverse childhood experiences and life events on the inhibitory control ability, cognitive flexibility, and working memory of college students.

Methods: The study involved testing the participants using the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Questionnaire, the Adolescent Life Events Scale (Adolescent Self-rating Life Events Checklist, ASLEC), and the program of executive functions designed by E-prime software.

Results: The incidence rate of ACEs was 44.8%. ACEs, life events, and inhibition ability were found to have a significant correlation (r1 = 0.50, r1 = 0.47, p < 0.01). In the switching task, the reaction time of the ACEs group was longer than the reaction time of the non-ACEs group (t = - 2.55, p < 0.05). Low scorers in the ASLEC exhibited lesser reaction times than their high-scoring counterparts in the tasks related to inhibition, switching, and working memory experiments. The regression analysis results showed that ACEs and life events had a possibility rate of 56% in predicting inhibition ability.

Conclusions: The incidence of ACEs was found to be high, and cognitive flexibility is significantly influenced by ACEs. Life events have a significant impact on inhibition ability, cognitive flexibility, and working memory. ACEs and life events were found to be reliable predictors of inhibition ability.

Keywords: Adverse childhood experiences; Executive function; Life events.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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