Child maltreatment and adult multimorbidity: results from the Canadian Community Health Survey Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: This study investigated associations between three types of child maltreatment (exposure to intimate partner violence, sexual, and physical abuse) and multimorbidity (chronic physical conditions, pain conditions, and mental disorders) in adults. METHODS: Multinomial logistic regression was used to analyze weighted data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS - MH 2012), a representative population sample (N = 23,846) of respondents ages 18+. RESULTS: All three subtypes of child maltreatment independently predicted increased odds of experiencing multimorbidity as an adult, while adjusting for covariates (adjusted odds ratios ranged from 1.34 (95% CI = 1.00, 1.80) to 4.87 (95% CI = 2.75, 8.63)). A dose-response relationship between the number of child maltreatment subtypes and risk for multimorbidity was also observed (adjusted odds ratios ranged from 1.38 (95% CI = 1.11, 1.73) to 10.96 (95% CI = 6.12, 19.64)). CONCLUSION: The current results highlight the importance of considering a range of childhood adversities and suggest that public health approaches that aim to decrease the prevalence and severity of child maltreatment have the potential to ameliorate adult multimorbidities. Future research is encouraged to investigate these issues using longitudinal population-level data.


  • England-Mason, Gillian
  • Casey, Rebecca
  • Ferro, Mark
  • MacMillan, Harriet L
  • Tonmyr, Lil
  • Gonzalez, Andrea

publication date

  • August 2018