Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Terance Miethe

Second Committee Member

Margaret Alexis Kennedy

Third Committee Member

William Sousa

Fourth Committee Member

Patricia Cook-Craig

Number of Pages



Childhood is made up of a wide array of both negative and positive experiences. One potential negative childhood experience may be understood as childhood maltreatment. Childhood maltreatment consists of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect prior to age 18 (World Health Organization, 2020). Neighborhood, family, and school dynamics are other areas in a child’s life that may create difficulties and challenges. Prior research has concluded that negative outcomes are associated with poor school, community, and family dynamics (Coulton, 2007; Lansford, 2009; Split et al., 2012). Previous research has also examined the impact of childhood maltreatment on different domains such as behavior and education. However, there is a major gap in the literature regarding the impact of negative childhood experiences on an individual's confidence and involvement in social institutions. The present study conducted survey research on a national sample of 404 U.S. adults to examine the impacts of childhood experiences on confidence and involvement in social institutions. Bivariate and multivariate regression analyses revealed that some negative childhood experiences (e.g., not having a close relationship with a teacher) were associated with lower involvement and confidence in social institutions, whereas other negative childhood experiences (e.g. repeating a grade) were associated with greater levels of involvement and confidence. These findings and the limitations of this study are discussed in terms of their implications for future research.


Childhood Abuse; Childhood Experiences; Childhood Maltreatment; Institutional Confidence; Institutional Involvement


Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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