Single Paper or Case Study
Ace & Resilience Response Among Elite College Athletes: preliminary Outcomes of the Changing Minds, Changing Lives Intervention
Saturday, March 24
11:05 AM - 11:25 AM
Jim Helling, LICSW
Clinical Director, Athletic Counseling Office
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Elevated rates of exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and young adult onset of health compromises have been found among urban, African-American males, a group dramatically over-represented among elite college athletes. But little research has been done examining the effects of early-life household- and community-based adversity on young adult resilience. The present study uses a mixed methods design to evaluate a resilience-fostering intervention during the transition to college. The Changing Minds, Changing Lives (CMCL) program, a strengths-based, resilience-focused academic course including stress and resilience information, mindfulness practice, cognitive skills training, reflective writing and structured feedback, was offered to a cohort of student-athletes (N=16; 100% male; 88% Black). Changes in resilience, adaptive response to stress, self-regulation, cognitive flexibility, and pro-social identity development were measured. Quantitative findings showed positive trends in most experimental parameters. Qualitative findings indicated significant changes in emotional awareness, expression and regulation; social cohesion; academic engagement; and leadership. Most notably, increments of measurable change were positively correlated with rates of exposure to childhood adversity. The CMCL program shows promise as an adaptive, resilience-fostering, wellness-based intervention for diverse young adult populations. Implications for future research and implementation of trauma-informed, resilience-focused psychological wellness programming for diverse young adults are discussed.
- Identify the young adult health and other risks associated with exposure to household and community-based adversity.
- Describe an operational model to assess outcomes of effective resilience intervention.
- Recognize the substantive elements of an effective resilience training program for diverse young adults with elevated ACE scores