Hi! I am a student at a graduate school of psychology getting certified to be a mental health counselor and am very interested in learning more about ACES and how they affect an adults’ ability to find meaning in life. I am especially curious if anyone has information on studies or resources that examine individuals who grew up in a religious home and have high ACE scores. I’m curious how this might affect meaning making later on in life. My hypothesis is that growing up in a religious home and having a large amount of ACES would further negatively impact that individual’s ability to make meaning of her life as an adult. 

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I don't have any resources for evidence based studies but in my personal experience, having a foundation in faith (administered in a healthy way) was a huge contributing factor in my ability to overcome. It is also the one factor that I have witnessed between long-term (5yr or more) for persons in addiction recovery. I have yet to meet a recovering addict with consistent and "true" recovery who does not have a grounded faith. On the flip side, persons I have met throughout my 10yr journey who had unhealthy introductions to religion, per se, have an extremely difficult time utilizing a faith for additional strength. Not sure if that's clear? Happy to share more as needed, if I come across any studies I'll make sure to let you know :-)

I think this phrase sums it up nicely

Religion can be a resource or a roadblock.

There are some interesting studies on the impact of beliefs on soldiers and ptsd.  The results suggested it depends on the type of values that are held within their faith.

A more negative concept of God was related to higher severity of PTSD and depressive symptoms, whereas, a more positive concept of God was related to lower severity of depressive symptoms.

Post-traumatic growth research tells us that spiritual healing is an essential part of physical and emotional healing -- they are intertwined and feed each other, not separate.  However, in my experience, because traumatic religious abuse is part of my ACEs,  I had to turn to other spiritual traditions than the one I grew up with in order to find healing.  

I love the quote someone shared: "Religion can be a resource or a roadblock."  And spirituality is an essential part of healing.

When one is abused as a kid by one's family who is fanatically religious it really messes up your sense of yourself and God. Going to church every Sunday, saying the Rosary every day, going for confession, being part of the church social service group kind of family members but then behaving like real evil when dealing with you.

It has taken me a long time to get back my faith, though I regret believing blindly about forgiveness and turning the other cheek. I would have definitely been in a better place without the burden of Christian Indoctrination.

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