Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Megan Smith

Second Advisor

Debbie Humphries


Introduction: Trauma represents a significant public health issue that has been associated with a number of adverse physical and mental health outcomes. Additionally, parenting practices have been found to be affected by trauma. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), one conceptualization of trauma, are also associated with adverse outcomes. However, limited research has been done on ACEs and their association to parenting stress and practices. As such, this study aims to understand this relationship. Methods: Surveys (n=1985) were administered to a population of low-income, parenting women to determine community needs and eligibility for a mental health intervention. At the baseline visit, measures to assess women’s parenting stress and practices were completed, and included the Parenting Stress Index – Short Form (PSI-SF) and Positive Parenting Practices (PPP) scale. Linear regression procedures (n=81) were conducted to assess the relationship between ACEs and parenting stress and practices, including if there was a dose-response relationship. Given the significant homogeneity of the sample and results of Fisher’s Exact tests, no demographic or clinical variables were controlled for in these analyses. Results: For the PSI-SF, significant, dose-response relationships were observed between ACEs and the PSI Total Stress score (p<0.05), the Difficult Child subscale (p<0.05), and the Parental Distress subscale (p<0.10). No significant relationships were found between ACEs and the Parent-Child Dysfunctional Interaction subscale of the PSI-SF or on the PPP scale. Conclusion: Given the association observed between ACEs and parenting stress, as measured by the PSI-SF, and the potential long-term effect ACEs could have on parenting-related variables, it is critical that future psychosocial interventions and policy initiatives preventing ACEs are developed. Additionally, future research is needed with larger, more representative samples to confirm the relationship between ACEs and parenting stress.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 06/07/2018