Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Psychology, MA


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Tiffany Berry

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Jeanne Nakamura

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2022 Rebecca Donaldson


Adverse childhood experiences, At-risk college students, Childhood trauma, Mentoring, Patient health

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Psychology


A large body of research suggest positive educational contexts may buffer against negative effects of childhood trauma for some individuals (Bessey, 2017). However, to date, only a small body of research has examined the characteristics of students’ approaches to learning that may interact with mentorship experiences in higher education and support greater well-being for this population (Mak, 2012). Studies suggest mentorship relationships in higher education are critical for the well-being of at-risk students, as they provide greatly needed social support and guidance (Al Makhamreh & Stockley, 2019). Literature also indicates that generative force characteristics of students may support mentorship experiences (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006; Mak, 2012). The present study examines individual approaches to learning for those who have experienced at least three adverse childhood experiences and who have completed at least two years of higher education. The role mentorship plays in strengthening the relationship between curiosity, hope, and growth mindset of at-risk college students and their well-being was explored. A total of fifty participants between 20 and 29-years-old completed the Growth Mindset Scale, the Five-Dimensional Curiosity Scale, the Hope Scale, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 Depressive Assessment, and The Mentorship Effectiveness Scale. Results were examined using multiple regression. Findings corroborate studies highlighting how greater levels of force characteristics (i.e., curiosity) are correlated with lower levels of depression and stronger mentorship experiences. However, results indicate that mentorship did not moderate the relationship between these force characteristics and lower levels of depressive symptoms.