Traumatic parental resilience will also be explored.

Traumatic experiences and chronic stress or adversity in
childhood are known to impact functioning across domains throughout the
lifespan, including interpersonal, educational, vocational, and familial
functioning and physical and mental health across the lifespan. Such
experiences, when measured using the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) scale
or one of its offspring, have been shown to predict physical, psychological,
and social outcomes and to have a cumulative effect in that the more childhood
adversity a person reports experiencing, the greater likelihood and number of
later functional issues they experience (Feletti et al., 1998; Violence Prevention, 2016).
Given the intergenerational transmission of trauma effects through perpetuation
by adults who themselves experienced trauma and the impact of corollary
stressors (such as physical and emotional health problems) that adults who have
ACEs often develop, it is reasonable to expect that parents with higher ACEs
would be more likely to have children who themselves have high ACEs. However,
direct exposure to adverse experiences is not the only possible mechanism by
which trauma impacts of parental ACEs may be transmitted intergenerationally.

Firstly, there is very little work on the possible direct
impact of parental ACEs on child social-emotional learning (SEL) or behavioral
difficulties that controls for child experiences of adversity. In addition, parental
resilience, or the ability to “bounce back” in the face of stress or adversity (Smith
et al., 2008), could alter the impact of parental ACEs either by reducing the
impact of the parent’s ACEs, reducing the likelihood the child has experienced
ACEs, or both. This study aims to explore the possible relationship between
parental experiences of childhood adversity as measured by ACEs on child
social-emotional learning and internalizing and externalizing behavior
difficulties while controlling for ACEs in the life of the child. The possible
mediating effect of parental resilience will also be explored.

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trauma is “the unique individual experience of an event or enduring conditions,
in which: the individual’s ability to integrate his/her emotional experience is
overwhelmed, or the individual experiences a subject sense of threat to life,
bodily integrity, or sanity (Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995, p. 60).” Traumatic
experiences in childhood, also called early life stress in the literature, have
been studied from a variety of perspectives and linked with changes in
neurobiology, poorer interpersonal functioning, increased risk of physical and
mental health problems, reduced telomere length, and long-term negative
outcomes across functional domains (Kendall-Tackett, 2009; Mersky &
Topitzes, 2010; Nemeroff, 2016). Specifically, increases in somatic complaints
and major illnesses such as heart disease, asthma, inflammatory responses,
chronic pain issues, and diabetes as well as increased incidence of substance
use, anxiety and mood disorders, psychosis, self-injury, and suicide have been
found. Trauma also predicts lower socioeconomic status, less educational attainment
and IQ, and higher reported life stress (Elliot
& Vaitilinham, 2008; Perez
& Spatz Widom, 1994; Tarullo, 2012). Socially, increased
engagement in violence and delinquency (Gold, Wolan Sullivan, & Lewis,
2011; Mersky & Topitzes, 2010; Xiamong & Corso, 2007) and poor social
skills (Perry, 2012) have been found in samples with childhood trauma

changes associated with trauma and chronic stress, or the response to emotional
pressure suffered for a prolonged period of time in which an individual
perceives he or she has little or no control (McEwen, 2007), include changes in
functionality, volume, and connectivity in the amygdala, corpus collosum,
hippocampus, and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, increased corticosteroid
levels, and altered frontal lobe volume and activity (Lupien, McEwen, Guunar,
& Heim, 2009; McCrory, Dr Brito, & Viding, 2010; Nemeroff, 2016). These
areas of the brain are specifically associated with mood regulation, threat
assessment and response, the stress response, behavioral inhibition, and
executive functioning. Appropriate assessment of and response to the
environment and self are necessary skills for self-regulation and appropriate
social behavior as well as responsible decision making. Such skills, in
addition to the ability to direct and maintain attention, plan appropriate
actions, and understand consequences are necessary for appropriate decision
making and successful social, academic, and vocational functioning.  There is some evidence that these changes
impact caregiving behaviors and potentially even alter hormone and neuropeptide
functioning at an epigenetic level, leading to intergenerational transmission
through genetic and behavioral pathways (Bos, 2017). Thus, traumatic events and
chronic life stressors during early life are not only associated with a variety
of negative outcomes in physical and mental health and social, academic, and
vocational functioning, but also result in neurobiological changes that may
underlie much of the difficulty.  


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