Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Diana Morelen

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Andrea Clements


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events during a person’s early life that can influence their later mental health, physical health, and wellbeing. Internalizing symptoms such as anxiety and depression are common mental health outcomes associated with these events. Two factors, religiosity/spirituality (R/S) and mindfulness, are possible protecting factors to help lessen the effect of traumatic experiences on later mental health. This study examined whether R/S and mindfulness are protective factors in the relationship between ACEs and future internalizing symptoms. Further, this study examined whether the impact of R/S was influenced by an individual’s mindfulness (moderated moderation). Participants (N = 769, age M = 20.43, SD = 4.507) for this study were recruited through the SONA research platform at East Tennessee State University as a part of the REACH (Religion, Emotions, and Current Health) self-report survey. Results from the current study did not support either mindfulness or R/S as moderating factors for the relationship between ACEs and internalizing symptoms. However, exploratory mediation suggested mindfulness was a mediator for this relationship. This study, while it did not demonstrate the buffering capacity of study variables, provides information about the implications of ACEs in a Northeast Tennessee sample. Future research should examine new variables as potential protective factors for this relationship and more detailed information about the mediating effect of mindfulness.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

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


Copyright by the authors.