Despite increased understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), very little advancement has been made in how ACEs are defined and conceptualized. The current objectives were to determine: 1) how well a theoretically-derived ACEs model fit the data, and 2) the association of all ACEs and the ACEs factors with poor self-rated mental and physical health.
Data were obtained from the Well-Being and Experiences Study, survey data of adolescents aged 14 to 17 years (
n= 1002) and their parents ( n= 1000) in Manitoba, Canada collected from 2017 to 2018. Statistical methods included confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and logistic regression models. Results
The study findings indicated a two-factor solution for both the adolescent and parent sample as follows: a) child maltreatment and peer victimization and b) household challenges factors, provided the best fit to the data. All original and expanded ACEs loaded on one of these two factors and all individual ACEs were associated with either poor self-rated mental health, physical health or both in unadjusted models and with the majority of findings remaining statistically significant in adjusted models (Adjusted Odds Ratios ranged from 1.16–3.25 among parents and 1.12–8.02 among adolescents). Additionally, both factors were associated with poor mental and physical health.
Findings confirm a two-factor structure (i.e., 1) child maltreatment and peer victimization and 2) household challenges) and indicate that the ACEs list should include original ACEs (i.e., physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, physical neglect, exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV), household substance use, household mental health problems, parental separation or divorce, parental problems with police) and expanded ACEs (i.e., spanking, peer victimization, household gambling problems, foster care placement or child protective organization (CPO) contact, poverty, and neighborhood safety).