Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Possel, Patrick

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Mitchell, Amanda

Committee Member

Hopkins, Katy

Committee Member

Frazier, Erin

Author's Keywords

adverse childhood experiences; concurrent reporting; caregivers; adolescents


The consequences of Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) events in youth have predominantly been studied through retrospective studies that assess adults’ first 18 years of life or caregiver report of ACEs in youth. Reliance on only caregiver report to discern ACEs is a limitation amongst prior studies as research has found that caregivers tend to underestimate ACEs among their children, and there is even a greater discrepancy of reporting between caregivers and youth 12 years and older. Therefore, this study investigated concurrent reporting of self-report ACE scores in adolescents – defined in this study as 12 to 20 years old – and caregiver-reports of their adolescents’ ACE scores. Adolescents from three primary care clinics (N = 22; 63.6% Black/African American; 54.4% male) completed the Whole Child Assessment, while caregivers of the adolescents completed the Adverse Childhood Experience measure on behalf of their adolescent. Caregivers, whom all identified as women, ranged in age from 36 – 52 years old (N = 22, 63.6% Black/African American). Contrary to the hypothesis, ACEs reported by adolescents and caregivers were not significantly different (t(21) = 1.44, p = .19). Contrary to the prediction, adolescents did not report a higher mean ACE score compared to the caregiver’s report of the adolescent’s ACE score. The results have implications for identifying adverse experiences and connecting adolescents with resources to intervene and potentially negate harmful outcomes. Healthcare workers in the primary care setting who screen for adverse experiences may benefit from these findings to identify that a caregiver report does appear to accurately detect an adolescent’s ACE score in the primary care setting. These findings can lead to earlier detection of ACEs and mitigate the impact of long-term health outcomes. Additionally, accurate identification of ACEs has the potential to connect adolescents with appropriate resources.