Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name





Dr. Meyer

First Committee Member

Dr. Hatter-Fisher

Second Committee Member

Dr. Prusinski


Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs), GPA, Academic Success, Social Networks, Religious Faith, Moderators

Subject Categories

Higher Education


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events children experience that can have lifelong impacts (Blodgett & Lanigan, 2018). These traumatic events may include verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, as well as family stress or dysfunction, such as the loss of a parent, incarcerated family members, substance use, economic hardships, community violence, and natural disasters. Research shows ACEs are associated with negative psychological impacts such as anxiety and depression (Zare et al., 2018). While previous research emphasized an examination of negative mental and other health outcomes, the current study sought to examine further how ACEs are associated with negative educational outcomes. This study attempted to answer the following question: What is the correlation between ACEs and school productivity? The study also looked at four potential moderators or protective factors against ACEs (neighborhood network, high school network, religious networks, and religious faith).

The findings supported the hypothesis that ACEs negatively correlated with GPA and academic success. Further partial support was found for the hypothesis suggesting social network connections and religious faith could buffer the negative relationship between ACEs and academic success. Specifically, religious faith moderated the relationship between ACEs and GPA and between ACEs and academic success in the predicted direction. The relationship between ACEs and negative educational outcomes was stronger in students with low religious faith. Other factors (neighborhood, high school, and religious network strength) did not function as moderators, however, contrary to hypotheses.

Licensing Permission

Copyright, all rights reserved. Fair Use

Acknowledgement 1


Acknowledgement 2