Psychological Flexibility Mediates Wellbeing for People with Adverse Childhood Experiences during COVID-19

Angela Browne, Owen Stafford, Anna Berry, Eddie Murphy, Laura K. Taylor, Mark Shevlin, Louise McHugh, Alan Carr, Tom Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The psychological impact of COVID-19 is multifaceted, both acute and chronic, and has not affected everyone equally. Method: This longitudinal study compared those with and without Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on measures of psychological distress and wellbeing over time. Results: All groups (No ACE, Low ACE, and High ACE) had similar levels of distress at Time 1, with significant increases in psychological distress for those with ACEs over time, but not for those without. Psychological Flexibility was strongly and significantly associated with decreases in psychological distress and improved wellbeing. It significantly mediated the relationship between ACE and wellbeing. Conclusions: Those with ACEs report significantly increased psychological distress over time, compared to those without ACE during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence-based interventions using Psychological Flexibility may improve mental health and wellbeing to help further mediate its effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number377
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of clinical medicine
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 13 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was in part funded and supported by the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council (COV19-2020-044). The funder had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • COVID-19
  • pandemic
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • ACEs
  • psychological flexibility
  • wellbeing
  • mental health
  • psychological distress
  • Ireland
  • Mental health
  • Wellbeing
  • Pandemic
  • Psychological flexibility
  • Psychological distress
  • Adverse childhood experiences


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