Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Goncy, Liz

Second Advisor

Yaroslavsky, Ilya

Third Advisor

Jackson, Tawana

Subject Headings



Childhood trauma and childhood stressors are extremely common, impacting two- thirds of children aged twelve to seventeen [Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2019]. Whether these adversities are egregious or subtle, the impact of such adversities can last well beyond childhood and can extend into young adulthood. The current study aimed to determine if young adult substance use and criminal involvement are long-term effects of childhood trauma and childhood stressors. Another goal was to determine whether these effects could be alleviated to some extent with the utilization of positive coping mechanisms. In a diverse sample of young adults aged 18-30 (Mage = 25.00, SD = 3.59; 55.9% women, 42.8% men, 1.3% gender non- binary; 55.0% White, 45.0% non-White), results showed that childhood trauma associates with young adult crime and drug use, but not alcohol use, childhood stressors associate with young adult crime, but positive coping tactics do not moderate any of these relationships. Understanding the impact of childhood trauma and stressors and how they relate to high-risk and destructive behaviors (i.e., substance abuse and crime) later in their lives is critical to the development of services and programs that could provide better- directed prevention and intervention methods toward these behaviors. Further, understanding the coping strategies—specifically those that rely on cognitive and behavioral approach tactics—that decrease risk for these behaviors can provide better- directed support.