Date of Award


Degree Name



Public Health


Louis D. Brown


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), mental health and resilience among adults living in the United States - Mexico Border region. Background: Numerous studies have investigated the negative impact of ACEs on adult mental health, but the concept of resilience as a protective factor for mental health has limited consideration in ACE treatment interventions. The proposed study addresses this gap in knowledge by investigating relations between ACEs, resilience, and mental health in the understudied U.S - Mexico Border population. Method: An online survey was administered to 221 university students to assess the relationship between ACEs, mental distress and resilience. Using hierarchical linear regression, three models were tested. First, including demographics, second including ACEs and low resilience, followed by the interaction of ACEs and low resilience. Results: Analyses indicate that ACEs were associated with mental distress (B = 1.02, 95% CI 0.37 - 1.68, p < 0.01) and low resilience was associated with mental distress (B = 5.37, 95% CI 3.15 - 7.59, p < .01). The ACEs x low resilience interaction term was also related to mental distress (B = 1.32, 95% CI 0.17 - 2.47, p = 0.03), indicating that ACEs had a larger association with mental distress among respondents with low resilience. Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of resilience in reducing mental distress directly and in reducing the influence of ACEs on mental health. Interventions promoting resilience may be effective in reducing mental distress, especially among individuals with a history of adverse childhood experiences.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

41 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Maribel G. Dominguez