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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mental health and wellness in K-12 staff affected by childhood adversity Friesen, Alan R.


Although one in three Canadians have experienced childhood adversity (Afifi et al., 2014; Burczycka, 2017; McDonald et al., 2015), this study shows that childhood adversity experienced by educators in British Columbia only has a small effect on their current mental health and wellness. This was determined using an online survey completed by 305 classroom teachers, special education/resource teachers, and special education assistants using a non-random, self-selected methodology. The instruments used to measure childhood adversity and mental health and wellness were the Maltreatment and Abuse Chronology of Exposure (MACE) and Mental Health Continuum, Short Form (MHC-SF) respectively. This study found no significant differences in the prevalence of childhood adversity between classroom teachers, special education/resource teachers, and special education assistants, nor did it find a significant correlation between childhood adversity, current mental health and wellness, and educational role. Recommendations to address childhood adversity are made at the individual and systems levels, with a particular focus on decolonization and centering Indigenous solutions as a reflection of the current reality of the colonization and ongoing violence towards Indigenous peoples in this province and country.

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