Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lanesskog, Dierdre (Ph.D)


The purpose of the following study was to explore and examine the prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and coping methods among social work students at a Southern California university. The literature on ACE scores suggests that higher levels of ACE can impact well-being and functioning in adults, yet, provides limited information relating to social work.

A quantitative survey instrument constructed by Felitti and colleagues (1998) and two additional questions relating to coping methods and strategies were constructed by the researchers were used to gather data for the purpose of this study. Data for the following study was collected through a self-administered, online questionnaire distributed by a Southern California university school of social work administration via Qualtrics online survey software. The data was analyzed with SPSS software, using descriptive statistics, frequencies, and independent sample t-tests.

The study’s results suggest that social work students, in general, have higher ACE scores than are found in the general population. The majority of respondents reported having more than 2 instances of ACE. Yet, less than half of respondents reported using effective, healthy coping methods to cope with experiences of childhood hood trauma. These findings suggest that schools of social work, and the agencies that employee their graduates, should consider providing enhances, supports, and training for social work students and professionals coping with ACE events.

Included in

Social Work Commons