Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Joseph, Rigaud


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) constitute a public health threat by increasing the risk of chronic health conditions in adulthood. This study asked two relevant questions: 1) How do social workers with a history of adverse childhood experiences deal with ACEs-related trauma? 2) What are factors influencing social workers' response to adverse childhood experiences-related trauma? Embracing a mixed-methods research approach, this study recruited a sample of 35 social work professionals (N = 36). Spearman Rho Correlation and Mann-Whitney U Test results show no statistically significant relationships between age, gender, ethnicity, education, social work experience and impact of social work on personal life. Meanwhile, qualitative results indicate that the social work profession has helped people cope with and overcome ACE-related traumas. Five subthemes—a desire to help others, a sense of belonging in social work, positive experiences with social work, discovery of new coping strategies, a finding a new purpose in life—support this claim. Implications of these findings for theory, research, and social work practice are discussed.

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Social Work Commons