The Role of Social Supports in Mitigating the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Adolescent Psychopathology

Grants and Contracts Details


Over 61% of adults surveyed in 2017 across 23 states experienced at least one type of adverse childhood event (ACE). Black, Indigenous, and other Youth Of Color (BIYOC) are more likely to report having experienced four or more types of ACEs than their White counterparts, rendering it even more critical to understand the culturally specific protective mechanisms that buffer the negative impact of ACEs. Despite exposures to ACEs, at-risk youth still thrive; though a clear understanding of the underlying conditions that build resilience remains widely unknown, particularly for BIYOC youth. While the past 20 years of research has also shed light on the toll ACEs has on adolescent psychopathology, most findings to date: (1) do not include samples from racially diverse populations, (2) disproportionately focus on adult populations, and (3) do not capture an adequate number of data collection timepoints from early to late adolescence. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study started collecting data on social, behavioral, physical, and environmental factors that may affect health outcomes in 2016, when youth (N=11,874) were between 9-10 years of age. This socio-demographically diverse national study of 21 research sites across the U.S. entails collecting data for 10 years, until 2026. Utilizing these data, we aim to examine the following: 1) prevalence of ACEs among BIYOC, 2) BIYOC’s long-term impact of ACEs on internalizing/externalizing behaviors from early to late adolescence, and 3) whether social supports (caregiver, peer, neighborhood) buffer the long-term effects of exposures to ACEs on behavior. We will analyze longitudinal data from BIYOC to identify the critical junctures by which trauma and social support impact behavioral functioning. Relying upon a cross-lagged analytic approach, we will generate an empirical model elucidating the extent to which social supports influence the long-term effects of exposures to ACEs on behaviors among BIYOC. Results will identify how to cultivate and make accessible the specific types of social support that mitigate the effects of ACEs.
Effective start/end date3/1/242/28/26


  • National Institute of Mental Health: $76,500.00


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