Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Winston Seegobin, PsyD

Second Advisor

Glena Andrews, PhD

Third Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal, PhD


Puerto Rico has endured horrendous natural disasters in the last few years, leaving thousands to cope with the aftermath; a mental health crisis. Therefore, understanding how Puerto Ricans navigate adversities, be that childhood adversity, natural disasters or daily stress is of utmost importance. Understanding the role resilience and drinking play in Puerto Rico will help us to further understand how they navigate adversities. Hence the reason why in this study we looked at how Adverse Childhood Experiences, Perceived Stress, Natural Disaster Adversity and Shame relate to each other and to Drinking behaviors and Resiliency. Data were collected on Puerto Rico via an online survey. Several individuals participated in the study (N = 189). Modifying variables included, age, place of residence on the island, gender, ethnicity, education, occupation and socio economic status. The results demonstrated significant differences between some modifying variables. Differences were seen between men and women in levels of Shame and ACES. No significant differences were found between ethnicities in levels of Shame, Stress, ACES, Hurricane Adversities and Resiliency. Similarly, no relationship was found between respondents level of drinking and SES. When looking at the sample as a whole there was no relationship between ACES and hurricane adversities as well as with drinking. However, there appears to be a positive relationship between ACES and Shame, and a small positive relationship between drinking and Shame. On the other hand, a negative relationship was found between Shame, ACES and Resiliency. However, a small positive relationship was found between the number of drinks people have and Resiliency. Additional analysis was conducted to further understand these variables and their relationships. Additional research, exploratory research, is needed to understand the variables and the relationship between them. Exploratory research is needed as a way to further understand the role culture plays in understanding Shame, ACES, Stress, Hurricane Adversities, Drinking and Resiliency in Puerto Rico.