Adverse Childhood Experiences and Mental Health Conditions Among Adolescents

Rachel N. Bomysoad, Lori A. Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Purpose: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked with poor physical and mental health. This study examined adult respondents' (e.g. parental) reports from the 2016–17 National Survey of Children's Health, a nationally representative study of health outcomes and social contexts of U.S. households with noninstitutionalized children. Methods: Logistic regression was used to examine associations between ACEs and reports of current depression, anxiety, conduct/behavioral problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and substance use disorder among youth (n = 29,617; 49% female) aged 12–17 years. Results: ACEs were associated with an increased likelihood of all current mental health diagnoses, particularly for youth exposed to four or more ACEs. Conclusion: Although data relied on cross-sectional adult reports, results provide evidence of a graded association between ACEs exposure and adolescents' mental health conditions; associations with substance use disorder were particularly marked. Early childhood, multilevel, trauma-informed interventions are needed to prevent negative youth outcomes associated with ACEs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-870
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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