Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Andrea Clements

Committee Members

Alyson Chroust, Eric Sellers, Julia Dodd


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) research has proliferated in the last twenty years with significant research demonstrating the detrimental effects of early childhood adversity. While many measures purport to measure ACEs, very few capture the intensity of ACEs while still calculating the traditional “ACEs tally.” Thus, it is the goal of this dissertation to collect evidence for an expanded ACES measure. The Variability in Adverse Childhood Experiences Scale (VACE) measure builds upon the original ACEs and captures interval level data. Two survey-based studies were conducted in which convergent and criterion related validity and test-retest reliability evidence were collected. In Study 1, the traditional ACE tally was not significantly related, through a multiple regression analysis, to depressive symptoms, stress, or substance use F(3, 81) = 1.72, p = .169. VACE scores were only significantly related to depressive symptoms with the entire regression model accounting for only 1% of the total variance in the sample who received the VACE measure F (3,81) = 5.024, p = .003. Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ-SF) scores were related to depressive symptoms and substance use accounting for 2% of the variance in the sample, F (3, 85) = 8.751, p F (3, 357) = 19.33, VACE score was significantly related to depressive symptoms and substance use with the model accounting for 1.8% of the total variance in the sample F (3,359) = 28.844, p CTQ-SF model accounted for 1.9% of the variance in the sample F (3, 359) = 29.37, p VACE was calculated using a Pearson’s r correlation (r = .854, p r = .664, p VACE (n = 38). The test-retest reliability suggests sufficient temporal stability of the measure across time. The primary goals of modifying an existing ACE measurement to capture greater variability and accumulate validity and reliability evidence for this new measure were achieved.

Document Type

Dissertation - embargo


Copyright by the authors.

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