Adverse Childhood Experiences and Development in Emerging Adulthood

Jordan P. Davis, Tara M. Dumas, Brent W. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To date, no study has investigated the relation of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) with the developmental identification of the dimensions of emerging adulthood (IDEA; e.g., identity development, experimentation). Participants (N = 832) were recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (version: ‘2014 - 08- 15'). Basic associations between ACEs and the IDEA were conducted as well as indirect effects between ACEs and the IDEA for endorsement of traditional adult roles and current stress. ACEs were associated with reporting lower scores on the IDEA. Specifically, higher ACEs were associated with feeling less self-focused and less likely to feel this period of life is a time of experimentation and possibilities. Conversely, higher ACEs scores were associated with increased negativity/instability. Current perceived stress fully and partially mediated the effect between ACEs and IDEA Scales. As posited by Arnett, ACEs was associated with decreased IDEA scores. Current perceived stress may be a salient mechanism between ACEs and developmental dimensions of emerging adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • adverse childhood events
  • childhood trauma
  • development
  • emerging adulthood
  • stress
  • young adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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