Promotive and Buffering Effects of Protective and Compensatory Experiences on Mental Health and Adjustment in Young Adults

Erin L. Ratliff, Jens E. Jespersen, Samantha Addante, Jennifer N.H. Watrous, Michael Morris, Lana O. Beasley, Lucia Ciciolla, Jennifer Hays-Grudo, Amanda S. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adverse childhood Experiences (ACEs) are considered a major public health crisis. Protective and Compensatory Experiences (PACEs) may help to ameliorate the effects of ACEs on young adult well-being. This study examined the moderating role of childhood PACEs on the effects of ACEs on depression, anxiety, substance use, and emotion regulation (ER) difficulties in a sample of 550 (73% female, m age = 20 yrs.) undergraduate students. ACEs were associated with greater symptoms of anxiety and depression, substance use, and ER difficulties whereas PACEs were associated with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, substance use, and ER difficulties. Protective and compensatory experiences significantly moderated the relationship between ACEs and depression, such that greater PACEs weakened the relationship between ACES and depression. Protective and compensatory experiences did not significantly moderate relationships between ACEs and anxiety, substance use, or ER difficulties. These findings suggest PACEs promote adjustment in young adults and can buffer the deleterious effects of ACEs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmerging Adulthood
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • adverse childhood experiences
  • adversity
  • protective
  • protective and compensatory experiences
  • young adulthood

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