Experiences of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Racial Discrimination in Relation to Depressive Symptoms in College Students translation missing: zh.hyrax.visibility.files_restricted.text

Dorvil, Sarah R (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/nk322f49w?locale=zh
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Abstract

Background: Research conducted with college students has found that ACEs are associated with poor mental health outcomes. Furthermore, although college campuses have become increasingly diverse, experiences of racial discrimination are still pervasive. These stressors can be detrimental for the college students’ mental health. Thus, the aim of this study is to apply the intersectionality framework and minority stress theory to examine sociodemographic predictors related to ACEs, experiences of racial discrimination, and how these factors relate to depressive symptoms in college students.

Methods: Multivariable regressions were conducted on cross-sectional data from 2,685 college students attending 7 different colleges/universities in the state of Georgia. We included measures of sociodemographic characteristics, adverse childhood experiences, experiences of discrimination, and depressive symptoms.

Results: The average age of participants at baseline was 20.51 (SD=1.94) years, 63.9% (n=1,715) were female, 21.9% (n=581) were Black, 7.8% (n=207) were Hispanic, and 8.2% (n=218) were sexual minorities. Lower parental education, attending a public or a technical college, and identifying as Hispanic were associated with higher ACE scores. Identifying as a racial or ethnic minority, compared to identifying as White, was associated with more reports of experiences of discrimination. More ACEs predicted more experiences of racial discrimination, and both contributed to the regression model predicting higher levels of depressive symptoms, which was also associated with attendance at a public college/university. 

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that college campuses and staff should provide college students with the resources they need to address ACEs, racial discrimination, and the impacts of these two on depression. Resources, such as mentorship, free counseling appointments, spaces on campuses for college and community support, could help students attain academic and psychosocial success. 

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION..............................................................................................................7

LITERATURE REVIEW......................................................................................................8

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) .............................................................................8

Racial Discrimination.......................................................................................................9

ACEs, Racial Discrimination, and Depression in College Students........................................9

Sociodemographic Predictors of Experiencing ACEs and Racial Discrimination...................11

Conceptual Framework: Intersectionality & Minority Stress Theory...................................12

METHODS......................................................................................................................12

Procedures & Participants...............................................................................................13

Measures........................................................................................................................14

Sociodemographic Characteristics....................................................................................14

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).............................................................................14

Experiences of Discrimination..........................................................................................15

Depressive Symptoms......................................................................................................15

Data Analysis..................................................................................................................15

RESULTS.........................................................................................................................16

Participant Characteristics...............................................................................................16

Bivariate Analyses...........................................................................................................16

Multivariable Analyses.....................................................................................................17

DISCUSSION...................................................................................................................18

Limitations......................................................................................................................21

Conclusions.....................................................................................................................22

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.....................................................................................................22

REFERENCES...................................................................................................................23

Table 1. Participant Characteristics and Bivariate Analyses Regarding ACE Scores, Experiences of Discrimination, and Depressive Symptoms...... 29

Table 2. Multivariable Regression Examining Correlates of ACEs, Experiences of Discrimination, and Depressive Symptoms................................30

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