Yuan QuFollow

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Glena L. Andrews, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kenneth Logan, Ph.D.


Over the last 40 years, China implemented many socioeconomic policies, among which the “open-door” and “single-child” policies were two of the most noteworthy. Therefore, in China, the study of child maltreatment requires understanding the impact of family constellation changes that resulted from national policies. This study sought to examine adverse childhood experiences (ACE) differences among Chinese adults who grew up as left- behind children (LBC) and single-children (SC). In addition, as a response to the Ho et al. (2019a) call for “further investigations on cultural specific patterns of ACEs” (p. 187), this study examined patterns of ACEs among the Mainland Chinese participants. The sample consisted of 140 Chinese adults (ages 18 - 44 years) residing in Mainland China, with 70 identified as LBC and 70 as SC. Of the participants, 68 were male, and 72 were female. Participants were recruited via a Mechanic Turk. Each participant received monetary remuneration for completing demographic questionnaire and the Adverse Childhood Experiences International Questionnaire (ACE-IQ). The results did not support the hypothesis that people who grew up as LBC experience more ACEs than those who grew up as SC. The results highlighted that SC are just as vulnerable as LBC in experiencing childhood adversities. In addition, this study revealed three distinct ACE class patterns within this sample. The first class, with the lowest ACEs, showed a pattern of parental discord in which people who experienced parental death, separation, or divorce were also likely to report experiencing emotional neglect. The second class revealed a pattern of environmental discord in which people who frequently witnessed collective violence also had a high probability of experiencing emotional and physical neglect. The last class accounted for the smallest percentage of participants and demonstrated a pattern of elevated ACEs across multiple categories. Except for the last class, the first two classes differ significantly from the Ho et al. (2019a) findings. The ACE patterns from this Mainland Chinese sample shed light on the unique history of Mainland China for the past four decades and its impact on childhood adversities.

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