Honors Program

University Honors, Honors in Psychology

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Diana Morelen

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Matthew McBee


Research has found that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with changes in both parenting stress and cortisol. Resilience-building interventions may be able to help diminish the effects of ACEs, thus impacting parenting stress and cortisol reactivity. This study aims to examine how two resilience-building interventions (emotion-based and behavior-based) will impact parenting stress and cortisol reactivity in mothers with ACEs. This project is in the preliminary stages of data collection; as such, this honors thesis will review the relevant literature, describe current methodology and proposed analyses, and discuss possible implications and future directions. Participants (goal N=100) undergo a pre-assessment where parenting stress and cortisol reactivity are measured. Participants are then randomly assigned to receive an emotion-based curriculum (goal n= 50) or behavior-based curriculum (goal n=50) for 8 weeks. After completing their curriculum, participants’ parenting stress and cortisol reactivity will be reassessed. Participants from both resilience-building interventions are hypothesized to have a reduction in parenting stress and cortisol reactivity, but participants who received the emotion-based curriculum are predicted to have greater reductions. Additionally, it is hypothesized that changes in parenting stress will be correlated with changes in cortisol reactivity, so participants with greater reductions in parenting stress are anticipated to have greater reductions in cortisol reactivity.


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.