ACEs' Effects on Subjective Health and the Mediating Role of Emotion Regulation Difficulties

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Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been shown to have significantly deleterious effects on an individual’s overall health (Felitti et al., 1998), including poor subjective experiences of health (Khrapatina & Berman, 2017). Difficulties in emotion regulation (DERs), which reflect the inability to identify, interpret, and manage strong emotions, may be one mechanism through which ACEs affect health. Successful emotion regulation has been associated with high levels of self-reported health, whereby DERs has been linked to poor selfreported health (Kinnunen et al., 2005). The current study seeks to determine whether DERs (Gratz & Roemer, 2004) mediate the relationship between ACEs and subjective experiences of health. Utilizing a sample of students from a mid-sized university in rural Appalachia, the mediating role of DERs was tested using the PROCESS macro for SPSS with bootstrapping (5000 samples). Results demonstrated that DERS did significantly mediate the relationship between ACEs and self-reported health [R2 = .12, F(2,616) = 43.60, p < .000; indirect effect of DERS total t(616) = -7.01, p < .000, CI = -.04, -.02]. The identification of DERs as one mechanism through which ACEs increases the risk of poor self-reported health offers one target for interventions designed to mitigate the negative outcomes of ACEs and promote resilience in the face of past adversity


Washington, DC

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