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      The effect of multiple adverse childhood experiences on health: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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          Abstract

          A growing body of research identifies the harmful effects that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs; occurring during childhood or adolescence; eg, child maltreatment or exposure to domestic violence) have on health throughout life. Studies have quantified such effects for individual ACEs. However, ACEs frequently co-occur and no synthesis of findings from studies measuring the effect of multiple ACE types has been done.

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          Most cited references38

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          Impact of child sexual abuse: A review of the research.

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            Building a framework for global surveillance of the public health implications of adverse childhood experiences.

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              The impact of adverse childhood experiences on health problems: evidence from four birth cohorts dating back to 1900.

              We examined the relationship of the number of adverse childhood experiences (ACE score) to six health problems among four successive birth cohorts dating back to 1900 to assess the strength and consistency of these relationships in face of secular influences the 20th century brought in changing health behaviors and conditions. We hypothesized that the ACE score/health problem relationship would be relatively "immune" to secular influences, in support of recent studies documenting the negative neurobiologic effects of childhood stressors on the developing brain. A retrospective cohort study of 17,337 adult health maintenance organization (HMO) members who completed a survey about childhood abuse and household dysfunction, as well as their health. We used logistic regression to examine the relationships between ACE score and six health problems (depressed affect, suicide attempts, multiple sexual partners, sexually transmitted diseases, smoking, and alcoholism) across four successive birth cohorts: 1900-1931, 1932-1946, 1947-1961, and 1962-1978. The ACE score increased the risk for each health problem in a consistent, strong, and graded manner across four birth cohorts (P < 0.05). For each unit increase in the ACE score (range: 0-8), the adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for depressed affect, STDs, and multiple sexual partners were increased within a narrow range (ORs: 1.2-1.3 per unit increase) for each of the birth cohorts; the increase in risk for suicide attempts was stronger but also in a narrow range (ORs: 1.5-1.7). Growing up with ACEs increased the risk of numerous health behaviors and outcomes for 20th century birth cohorts, suggesting that the effects of ACEs on the risk of various health problems are unaffected by social or secular changes. Research showing detrimental and lasting neurobiologic effects of child abuse on the developing brain provides a plausible explanation for the consistency and dose-response relationships found for each health problem across birth cohorts, despite changing secular influences.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The Lancet Public Health
                The Lancet Public Health
                Elsevier BV
                24682667
                August 2017
                August 2017
                : 2
                : 8
                : e356-e366
                Article
                10.1016/S2468-2667(17)30118-4
                29253477
                300e3dd2-cfb6-4537-96cf-3974ca9a45f4
                © 2017
                History

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