Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Chairperson

Geeta Shivde, PhD

Committee Member

Jodi McKibben, PhD

Committee Member

Paula Boulware-Brown, PhD


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) include household dysfunction, abuse, and neglect, which can significantly impact mental, emotional, and physical health. 61% of the US population have experienced at least one ACE, and one in five adults have endured at least three or more ACEs before the age of 18 (Felitti et al., 1998, CDC, 2021). ACEs may also impact cognitive processes such as executive functions, attention, problem-solving, and language (Dye, 2018). Inhibition as an executive function supports self-control and impulse control, which can range from blocking an unwanted thought, to stopping oneself from engaging in a risky, potentially dangerous behavior (Diamond, 2013). Inhibition is important for accomplishing key tasks for people of all ages but is particularly important to those in the age group of 18-25, or emerging adults (Arnett, 1997). Adults in this age group are at a particularly vulnerable time in their life, when they are making important decisions about their future and navigating independence for the first time. The present study examined the impacts of ACEs on inhibitory control among emerging adults, using both self-report measures and a computerized task. The data was analyzed using simple linear regressions, and a statistically significant relationship was found among those who reported ACEs, which was associated with more self-reported difficulty with inhibitory control. The results of this study suggest that emerging adults who have experienced ACEs are susceptible to cognitive impairments in inhibitory control. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.

Available for download on Wednesday, July 23, 2025