Dissertations & Theses (Open Access)

Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Vanessa Schick, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Melissa Peskin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Paula Cuccarro, Ph.D.


Research shows that exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is common among adolescents; however, no studies have examined the prevalence of ACEs in a racially homogenous sample of African-American adolescents. Thus, the present study examined the cumulative and individual prevalence of ACEs in African-American adolescents. Data were collected from African-American adolescents (n = 241) who attended youth events hosted by churches in Houston, TX. An expanded ACEs tool was used to collect data. ACE scores were summed and dichotomized to 0-3 ACEs versus 4-19 ACEs because a score of four or more indicates a higher risk for adverse mental and behavioral health outcomes. Results indicate that most of the sample had been exposed to at least one ACE and that half of the sample had been exposed to four or more ACEs. These results suggest the need to explore the prevalence of cumulative ACEs among homogenous samples of African-American adolescents and to continue to explore and address the prevalence of individual ACEs among homogenous samples of African-American adolescents.