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Journal of Adult Development


Adverse childhood experience, Coping, Executive function, Cognitive failure, College adaptation, Well-being


Although the concurrent link between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and both physical and mental health is established, little is known about the mechanisms that explain it. We investigated the relationship between ACEs and well-being and the mediating roles of coping, executive function (EF), and cognitive failure in a non-clinical sample of college students. Participants (N = 194) completed behavioral measures and self-reports. More than half of the sample had at least one ACE. Correlational and mediational analyses examined the relationships between ACEs, college adaptation, psychopathology, substance use, coping, and cognitive failure. ACEs did not correlate with indices of EF or cognitive failure, but there was a positive relationship between cognitive failure and negative coping. ACEs positively correlated with college adaptation, psychopathology, and substance abuse. There was a full mediation from ACE via negative coping and cognitive failure for college adaptation and psychopathology and via negative coping for alcohol and drug use. ACEs relate with reliance on negative coping which in turn predicts directly and indirectly, through cognitive failure, poor adaptation and heightened symptomatology for psychopathology.




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