Honors Program

Honors in Psychology

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Jill D. Stinson

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Jill D. Stinson


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) play a role in the development of chronic mental and physical diseases in adulthood. These experiences include adversities such as: emotional/verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and household dysfunction. In this study, we hypothesize that forensic mental health offenders will have higher ACE scores than community participants. Secondly, we hypothesize that these participants will show higher rates of and earlier incidences of offending, arrest, incarceration, and hospitalization as a result of their ACE scores. Further, we hypothesize that males and females will be affected by ACEs differently. Using archival data from a secure forensic psychiatric facility in the Midwestern US, data were collected from 211 participants, of which 80% were males and 18% females. The ages of the participants ranged from 23 to 72 with a median age of 43. Using SPSS software, we were able to determine frequency of the ten categories of abuse, maltreatment, and familial dysfunction as included in the original ACE research. Correlations were run to determine the relationship between ACEs and criminal behavior. Statistical comparisons were also run to examine the differences between males and females. ACE score significantly correlated with age at first psychiatric admission. Males and females were significantly different with regard to ACE score. However, other variables were not significant and suggest that future research need to more deeply examine these differences, and additional variables that may determine criminal outcomes in high-risk samples.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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