Date of Award

Summer 5-14-2024

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Abigail Hughes-Scalise, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Marcia Bennett, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Trisha Hopkins-Smith, Ph.D.


It is well established that the homeless population endorses more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) than the general population and is also more susceptible to mental health and substance use disorders. Of note, individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionally affected by homelessness compared to their White counterparts. Little is known about the relationships between ACEs, mental health, and substance use in the homeless community. The present study examined the relationship between ACEs and a number of psychosocial outcomes, including mental health diagnoses, current substance use, and long-term substance use in an adult homeless population (N = 412) located in Minnesota. The impact of participant race and ethnicity as a moderator on the relationship between ACEs and various psychosocial outcomes was also explored. The study utilized archival data from the Minnesota Homeless Study (Wilder Research, 2018), which focuses on capturing the experience of the homeless population in Minnesota. Results showed that as the number of ACEs increased among the sample, so did the likelihood of a mental health disorder. Additionally, the number of ACEs reported was significantly associated with long-term substance use, indicating that as the number of ACEs increased, so did the likelihood of long-term substance use. ACEs were not associated with current substance. However, when the homeless population was considered as a whole. When separated by racial/ethnic identity, only White participants were more likely to endorse current substance use as ACEs increased. Directions for future research (short versus long-term substance use) and clinical implications, such as ACE-specific interventions, are discussed.


SC 11.CRP.2024.Keckeise.SK