Thesis

The link between emotional intelligence, resilience, and childhood adversity in adulthood

Childhood maltreatment, from the ages of zero to 18, is a pervasive adverse
 experience that continues to affect the lives of many adults. The Department of Health
 and Human Services reported in 2014, that there were 702,000 cases of child abuse and
 neglect. According to Fang, Brown, Florence, and Mercy (2010) the aggregate lifetime
 cost of child maltreatment is estimated at $585 billion per year. These costs are attributed
 to life time mental health related issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
 behavioral problems like criminality and violent behavior, as well as increased risk of
 chronic physical illness due to chronic stress. Child maltreatment has also been linked to
 decreased levels of job readiness and long term negative physical disabilities (Fang et al.,
 2010). Child maltreatment has a multitude of negative residual effects related to mental
 and physical health outcomes through the lifespan. Examining the relationships between emotional intelligence (EI) and resiliency may allow clinicians to develop treatment
 options that could lead to a decrease in transgenerational patterns of violence. The
 connection between neurobiology, childhood maltreatment, and emotional resilience
 were explored as a way to understand the outcomes for mental and physical health
 problems as a result of child maltreatment. One hundred and twenty-five participants
 were assessed for levels of emotional intelligence and resiliency using the The Trait
 Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire Short Form (Petrides, 2009) and The Resilience
 Scale (Wagnild, 2014), respectively. Participants were also assessed for the presence of
 adverse childhood experiences using the Adverse Childhood Experience Survey (Felitti
 & Anda, 1997). Results revealed a significant correlation, r(125) = .534, p < .001, which
 demonstrates that when an individual is higher in EI they are more resilient to adverse
 childhood experiences in adulthood. The finding that EI and resilience are related may
 help clinicians better deal with the deleterious consequences of childhood trauma.

Childhood maltreatment, from the ages of zero to 18, is a pervasive adverse experience that continues to affect the lives of many adults. The Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2014, that there were 702,000 cases of child abuse and neglect. According to Fang, Brown, Florence, and Mercy (2010) the aggregate lifetime cost of child maltreatment is estimated at $585 billion per year. These costs are attributed to life time mental health related issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), behavioral problems like criminality and violent behavior, as well as increased risk of chronic physical illness due to chronic stress. Child maltreatment has also been linked to decreased levels of job readiness and long term negative physical disabilities (Fang et al., 2010). Child maltreatment has a multitude of negative residual effects related to mental and physical health outcomes through the lifespan. Examining the relationships between emotional intelligence (EI) and resiliency may allow clinicians to develop treatment options that could lead to a decrease in transgenerational patterns of violence. The connection between neurobiology, childhood maltreatment, and emotional resilience were explored as a way to understand the outcomes for mental and physical health problems as a result of child maltreatment. One hundred and twenty-five participants were assessed for levels of emotional intelligence and resiliency using the The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire Short Form (Petrides, 2009) and The Resilience Scale (Wagnild, 2014), respectively. Participants were also assessed for the presence of adverse childhood experiences using the Adverse Childhood Experience Survey (Felitti & Anda, 1997). Results revealed a significant correlation, r(125) = .534, p < .001, which demonstrates that when an individual is higher in EI they are more resilient to adverse childhood experiences in adulthood. The finding that EI and resilience are related may help clinicians better deal with the deleterious consequences of childhood trauma.

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