Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Gillian Pinchevksy

Second Committee Member

Melissa Rorie

Third Committee Member

William Sousa

Fourth Committee Member

Emily Salisbury

Fifth Committee Member

Shane Kraus

Number of Pages



Justice-involved youth are exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) at higher rates than youth in the general public, highlighting the importance of addressing childhood trauma and adversity in juvenile justice settings. A majority of ACEs research has focused on the general population and has demonstrated the long lasting negative impact of ACEs, on mental health, physical health, and engagement in health risk behaviors. Both gender and racial/ethnic differences have been identified in ACEs literature, suggesting that not all groups in society have the same likelihood of experiencing ACEs. Additionally, ACEs may also impact individuals from racial/ethnic or gender groups differently, resulting in variable outcomes. In comparison to the ACEs literature among the general public, little research has examined ACEs among justice involved youth, and even fewer studies have examined gender and racial/ethnic differences in these settings. A historical account of gender and racial/ethnic discrimination within the juvenile justice system, coupled with the feminist pathways perspective within an intersectional context, illustrates gendered racial/ethnic differences regarding pathways into the system and ongoing discrimination. To advance the ACEs literature, this dissertation explores the prevalence of ACEs as well as the relationship between ACEs, behavioral factors associated with delinquency, and recidivism within gendered racial/ethnic groups of justice-involved youth. The findings of the current study demonstrate the importance of accounting for both gender and race/ethnicity, as few studies have done so. Overall, the findings were mixed in relation to the prior literature and highlight the need for more research in this area, as few conclusions can be drawn from the current study’s findings. While more research is needed, broad policy implications are drawn from this study to help guide equitable assessment and treatment/services of trauma among justice-involved youth.


ACEs; Adverse childhood experiences; Justice-involved youth; Youth


Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice

File Format


File Size

2700 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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