Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have lifelong health consequences, yet screening remains challenging. Particularly in clinical settings, brief screeners that could lead to comprehensive assessments may be more feasible. We explore how two ACEs (economic hardship, parental/caregiver divorce/separation) are associated with other ACEs, asthma, and emotional, developmental, or behavioral (EDB) problems. Methods: Using the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, we assessed the associations between ACEs and asthma and EDB problems and calculated sensitivities, specificities and predictive values. Results: Parents frequently reported 1+ ACEs for their child (50.3%). Individual ACE frequency ranged from 4.2 to 29.6%; all were significantly associated with EDB problems (adjusted odds ratios (aORs): 2.2−5.1) and more ACEs confirmed higher odds. Two ACES (economic hardship, parental/caregiver divorce/separation) co-occurred frequently with other ACEs, having either predicted EDB problems similarly to other ACEs (aORs 1.8; 95% CI 1.4, 2.3) and having both greatly increased odds (aOR 3.8; 95% CI 2.8, 5.2). The negative predictive value of EDB problems associated with citing neither ACE was high (95.7%). Similar trends with asthma were observed. Conclusions: Economic hardship and caregiver separation are strongly associated with other ACEs, EDB problems and asthma. A brief screener including these ACEs may reduce clinical barriers to broader ACEs screening.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for this study was covered in part by the Child Health Research Acceleration Through Multisite Planning Pilot funding and the UC Irvine grant UL1 TR001414 and the Children’s National grant UL1TR001876.
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't