Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Celeste Johnes, Psy.D.

Second Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kristie Knows His Gun, Psy.D.


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) impact individual well-being at a biopsychosocial level and can undermine next generation child development. Resilience is increasingly understood to be achieved through natural adaptive systems, though younger children may be more reliant on environmental adaptive systems as internal systems develop. Parent resilience is a promising moderator of early intergenerational trauma transmission but relatively unexplored in terms of safeguarding offspring developmental outcomes. The current study examined if parent ACEs impact offspring overall development and specific developmental domains at 9, 18, and 30 months, and if parent resilience moderates these effects. A series of multiple linear regression, MANOVA, and Welch’s t-test analyses were run. Parent ACEs positively predicted offspring developmental risk only at 30 months. Maternal resilience predicted lower developmental risk and better problem-solving, personal-social, and fine motor at 18 months, as well as gross motor at 30 months. Parent resilience moderated the effects of high parent ACEs on developmental risk at 30 months. Thus, parent ACEs can negatively impact child development by 30 months but parent resilience moderates high parent ACE effects and supports early child development and resilience. Children of parents with both low resilience and high ACEs are particularly vulnerable to developmental delays. Findings highlight the importance of (a) screening for parent ACEs and resilience in primary care, (b) providing preventative and secondary family resilience-building interventions prior to 24 months, and (c) flexibly screening for delays in high risk families.

Included in

Psychology Commons