School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Mollie Boyd


childhood adversity, adverse childhood experiences, career choice, career decision-making, psychotherapy, helping profession, trauma


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Traumatic experiences can have lasting impacts on an individual across the lifespan. Areas of adult functioning that are impacted by trauma may include but are not limited to mental health, physical health, relationships, communication style, attachment tendencies, and so on. Traumatic experiences in childhood can yield dysfunction in areas of intrapersonal functioning and interpersonal functioning. Childhood adversity has been studied in detail over the last two decades, with notable research done in the areas listed above. What is less studied is the impact of childhood adversity on career choice. Factors influencing career choice are endless; research points to socioeconomic status, gender, age, geography, money, and other factors. An area that is less studied is the area of childhood adversity and career decision-making. The current study focused on the impact of childhood adversity on the career decision-making process of psychotherapists. The purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between childhood adversity and the decision to go into a helping profession. This quantitative, correlational study focused on licensed mental health clinicians in the state of Pennsylvania and utilizes an online survey to gather data regarding childhood adversity experiences and retrospective consideration of career motivators.

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