Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences and their cumulative impact associated lifetime health outcomes in the Emirate of Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Toby Long, Anthony Murphy, Iffat Elbarazi, Zeina Ismail-Allouche, Neal Horen, Emad Masuadi, Claire Trevithick, Cairo Arafat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Adverse Childhood Experiences have been associated with poor health outcomes later in life. Objective: The objective of the study was to determine the relationship between cumulative ACEs, risky health behaviors, chronic diseases, and mental health among a large-scale sample from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Participants and setting: A retrospective cross-sectional study was performed with 922 participants over the age of 18, living in Abu Dhabi. Methods: The Adverse Childhood Experiences International Questionnaire (ACE-IQ) was used to assess ACEs, alongside a survey of adult health outcomes, mental health outcomes, and risk-taking behaviors. Results: Logistic regression models examined the association between retrospective ACEs and these outcomes. The respondents reported an average of 1.74 ACEs. The most prevalent ACEs were household violence, parental death or divorce, and community violence. The accumulation of ACEs significantly predicts increases in the risk of a variety of adult-onset health morbidities, all measured mental health morbidities, and all measured risk-taking behaviors, with evidence of thresholds of ACE accumulation dictating risk. Conclusions: The baseline presence of ACEs among this Abu Dhabi sample, along with the associated risks of physical and mental health morbidities, and risk-taking behaviors play a significant role in understanding the extent, nature, and associated sequalae of ACEs in this population; providing nuanced context for early intervention. Our findings will inform the planning and implementation of specific prevention and awareness raising programs while promoting safe environments where children are healthy and can thrive.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106734
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume151
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Keywords

  • ACE-IQ
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Health
  • Stress
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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