The annual Bethany College Scholarship Symposium returns to an in-person format on the morning of April 7. Today, we will feature some students who will present research or projects. For a complete schedule, click here.

BETHANY, W.Va. – Psychology major Sarah Riedel studies the role of trauma in relation to emotional and physical well-being with the goal of finding ways to integrate holistic approaches to treat mental and physical health.

The senior from Wheeling, W.Va., will display her research, “Adverse Childhood Trauma (ACEs) & Physical Health” at 9:30 a.m. in the Academic Parlour of Old Main during Poster Session I.

She focused on traumatic childhood experiences in the areas of abuse, neglect and family and/or household challenges through an evaluative test. She also looked at physical health after age 18 and attempted to find a correlation between adverse childhood experiences and physical health in adulthood.

“Research supports the correlation between Adverse Childhood Experiences and increased likelihood or participating in risk-behaviors that can develop into serious physical health conditions later in life,” Riedel said. “Among Bethany College students, those who had higher cumulative ACE scores were at higher risk for worsening overall health, difficulty performing work, interference in normal tasks and increased pain experienced.”

Riedel worked with Dr. Debra Hull, visiting professor of psychology, on her project.

“It was surprising to me that so much research has been conducted among adolescents and even juvenile delinquents, finding there are neurological impairments as a result of exposure to ACEs that can result in struggle dealing with and understanding emotions,” Riedel said. “With all the scholarly research, I was surprised more preventative measures aren’t in place, such as routine screenings or increased holistic treatment methods to help prevent early risk behaviors.”


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.