Hi! I am a student at a graduate school of psychology getting certified to be a mental health counselor and am very interested in learning more about ACES and how they affect an adults’ ability to find meaning in life. I am especially curious if anyone has information on studies or resources that examine individuals who grew up in a religious home and have high ACE scores. I’m curious how this might affect meaning making later on in life. My hypothesis is that growing up in a religious home and having a large amount of ACES would further negatively impact that individual’s ability to make meaning of her life as an adult.
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I don't have any resources for evidence based studies but in my personal experience, having a foundation in faith (administered in a healthy way) was a huge contributing factor in my ability to overcome. It is also the one factor that I have witnessed between long-term (5yr or more) for persons in addiction recovery. I have yet to meet a recovering addict with consistent and "true" recovery who does not have a grounded faith. On the flip side, persons I have met throughout my 10yr journey who had unhealthy introductions to religion, per se, have an extremely difficult time utilizing a faith for additional strength. Not sure if that's clear? Happy to share more as needed, if I come across any studies I'll make sure to let you know :-)
I think this phrase sums it up nicely
Religion can be a resource or a roadblock.
There are some interesting studies on the impact of beliefs on soldiers and ptsd. The results suggested it depends on the type of values that are held within their faith.
A more negative concept of God was related to higher severity of PTSD and depressive symptoms, whereas, a more positive concept of God was related to lower severity of depressive symptoms.
You might look at the Post Traumatic Growth literature as spirituality is a huge factor for the positive for those folks who experience post traumatic growth.
Post-traumatic growth research tells us that spiritual healing is an essential part of physical and emotional healing -- they are intertwined and feed each other, not separate. However, in my experience, because traumatic religious abuse is part of my ACEs, I had to turn to other spiritual traditions than the one I grew up with in order to find healing.
I love the quote someone shared: "Religion can be a resource or a roadblock." And spirituality is an essential part of healing.