Honors Program Theses

Award Winner

Recipient of the 2021 Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award - Runner-up.

To go to the Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award page, Click here.

Year of Award

2021 Award


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Dilbur D. Arsiwalla, Honors Thesis Advisor


Although many studies have focused on the associations between adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and sleep outcomes (Chapman et al., 2011; Kajeepeta et al., 2015), the role of mindful awareness has not been explored in this interaction. Additionally, few studies have explored the impact of COVID-19 on sleep outcomes. The current study worked to bridge these gaps in the current literature. Data in this study was collected by asking students at the University of Northern Iowa to self-report their current sleep patterns, exposure to COVID-19, and mindful awareness while retrospectively reporting their past ACEs (N = 143). Past literature in this field has shown a connection between ACE score and lowered sleep quality, partially consistent with the results of this study (Koskenvuo et al., 2010). Findings indicated experiencing one or more ACE factor was associated with higher rates of sleep complaints affecting daytime functioning, increased factors inducing sleep (e.g. light and temperature of sleeping environment), poorer overall sleep quantity and quality (indicated by the PSQI sleep measure), and increased daytime sleepiness. Additionally, results indicated that with low levels of mindful awareness, there were increases in sleep disturbances, including nightmares, insomnia, sleep-inducing factors, sleep complaints affecting daily functioning, troubles sleeping, daytime sleepiness, and sleep quality. Thus, greater levels of mindful awareness were linked with lower levels of these sleep disturbances. A majority of the results did not support associations between COVID-19 and sleep outcomes. Furthermore, at low levels of mindful awareness, participants with high exposure to ACE reported increased trouble sleeping. Finally, at low and medium levels of mindful awareness, participants who were exposed to COVID-19 reported higher rates of daytime sleepiness.

Keywords:sleep, ACE score, Coronavirus (COVID-19), mindful awareness

Year of Submission



Department of Psychology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Object Description

1 PDF file (70 pages)



File Format