Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Projects

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Open Access

Degree Program

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Degree Track

Post Master's DNP Completion

Year Degree Awarded



Month Degree Awarded



Adverse childhood experiences, addiction, trauma, intensive outpatient program, opioid use disorder, ACE


Dr. Genevieve Chandler

DNP Project Chair

Dr. Karen Kalmakis


Background and purpose-Exposure to adverse childhood experiences results in increased morbidity and mortality among individuals with substance use disorders. Screening for histories of childhood trauma, and integration of trauma-informed care is lacking among health care practitioners. Integrating screening for histories of childhood abuse in person’s seeking treatment for substance abuse disorders can facilitate identification of individuals interested in additional support and resources to support their recovery. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness and feasibility of a screening interview protocol for ACEs and to determine the presence of ACEs among individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) who participate in an intensive outpatient program.

Methods: The screening interview was administered to subjects who met the inclusion, exclusion criteria. ACEs scores, and demographics were analyzed by descriptive statistics. Bivariate statistics were used to examine relationships between ACE scores, time to administer screening, follow-up referrals and the nurse practitioner’s comfort and confidence level.

Results: Over half of the participants had ACE score of six or above, with all having experienced at least one ACE. The comfort level of the interviewer with the screening process positively correlated to the confidence level. There was a negative correlation between time to administer the screening as comfort and confidence levels increased.

Conclusions: The NP using the screening interview effectively and efficiently identified clients with ACEs. The ACE level was extraordinarily high, 6 or above, which supports the necessity of screening all SUD patients participating in treatment to capture those individuals interested in additional support and resources to facilitate their recovery.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.