Date of Submission


Document Type



Melissa Whitson, Ph.D.


Adverse Childhood Experiences, ACEs, Social Support, Peer Victimization, Friends


Child Development, Social Support


Childhood and youth, Child development, Social networks, Peer pressure in adolescence


The purpose of the research study was to explore the connection between the presence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and pathways to the experience of peer victimization. Previous literature indicates that ACEs can have far-reaching negative effects into adulthood. Individuals with multiple ACEs have an increased risk of developing various physical and mental health issues as both children and adults. Research has also demonstrated that ACEs can negatively impact social affiliation and can preclude individuals from seeking social support. Social support is also pertinent in predicting the peer victimization because positive interactions with peers are protective against victimization. However, the relationship between ACEs, social connectedness, and peer victimization is not well understood and few studies have examined the potential connections. Therefore, the present studied examined how the experience of ACEs related to social connectedness and reported victimization. An electronic survey was conducted using university undergraduate students with ACE score as predictor variable, and social connectedness and victimization as dependent variables. The results indicated that participants with higher ACE scores were more likely to report lower social connectedness. Participants with high ACE scores and lower social connectedness were more likely to report experiences of victimization. A path analysis revealed that social connectedness mediated the relationship between ACE scores and reported victimization. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

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