The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on the Mental Health Statuses of Students Across Various Ethnic Identities


Adverse Childhood Experiences
Ethnic identity and mental health
depression and ACEs
self-worth and ACEs
substance-use disorder and ACEs


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are linked to an increased risk of health challenges. This study looked at a diverse sample of students at Ohlone College, a community college in the California Bay Area, to 1) analyse the ethnic groups with the highest ACEs scores and 2) examine the relationship between ACEs and indicators of mental health, including depression, substance-use disorders and self-worth. Using a unique approach to study ethnic identity by incorporating more distinguished ethnic groups, rather than broad categories, our survey found that the two ethnic groups with the highest average ACEs scores were the Afghan American (n = 226) and Native American (n = 229). These two communities, along with the Middle Eastern/North African (MENA) American (n = 228) community, were studied. Through comparison, individuals with high ACEs scores were found most likely to also have higher PHQ-9 scores, higher substance-use disorder symptoms and lower self-worth scores. We concluded that the various societal impacts of ethnic-identity groups must be prioritised as an important facet of mental health. If ethnic identity is included as part of early intervention in situations with abuse and neglect (diagnosis and/or prevention), it may greatly reduce the risk of mental illness.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Carissa Samuel, Ranbeer Singh, Manal Ahmed, Vaidehi Gupta, Setareh Harsamizadeh Tehrani, Michelle Hom, Nikhita Kandikuppa, Emily Nguyen, Lilly Nusratty, Anusha Sharangpani, Ma Thae (Juliana) Su


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