Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Diana Morelen

Committee Members

Dr. Julia Dodd, Dr. Rachel Miller-Slough


Unresolved adverse and traumatic experiences in parents can amplify the risk of perpetuating intergenerational transmission of trauma. Parents’ positive and adaptive practices such as self-care might act as a protective factor against this ripple effect. This study investigated whether self-care moderated the relationship between parental ACEs, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and parental reflective functioning in mothers who are experiencing high psychosocial stress (n = 59) residing in rural Appalachia. Within our sample, there was no statistically significant linear relationship between our predictors, ACE score and PTSD symptoms, and our outcome of interest, maternal pre-mentalizing. We did not find empirical support for self-care serving as a protective factor in the context of ACEs and PTSD symptoms. Despite the null findings in the main study hypotheses, the results of this study contribute to the literature on maternal trauma history and parenting outcomes. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.