Measuring Adverse Child Experiences Among Young Adolescents Globally: Relationships With Depressive Symptoms and Violence Perpetration

Robert Wm Blum, Mengmeng Li, Gia Naranjo-Rivera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to develop a measure of ACEs applicable for young adolescents in low- and middle-income countries (ACEs) and to analyze the relationships of ACEs against two outcomes: depressive symptoms and violence perpetration. There is a paucity of research on the consequences of adverse child experiences (ACEs) on adolescent health and behavior from low- and middle-income countries and virtually no multinational studies. Methods: As part of the Global Early Adolescent Study, an 11-item measure of ACEs was developed and piloted with 1,284 adolescents aged 10–14 years in 14 urban communities in an equal number of countries. With one exception where interviewers were used, data were self-reported anonymously using tablets. Results compared a summative ACEs index score and latent class analysis. Results: Findings show high rates of ACEs exposure experienced by young adolescents in resource-poor neighborhoods in low- and middle-income countries; disproportionate exposures of boys and strong associations between ACEs and both depressive symptoms and violence perpetration. Latent class analysis provided modest refinement over a summed ACEs score. Conclusion: While interventions tend to focus on behavioral outcomes, evidence suggests that ACEs exposure is a strong antecedent related to both depressive symptoms and violence perpetration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-93
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume65
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2019

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Bullying
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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