Self-reported Adverse Childhood Experiences Among Custodial Grandmothers: Frequencies, Patterns, and Correlates

Gregory Carl Smith, Megan Dolbin-MacNab, Frank Infurna, Britney Webster, Carol Musil, Saul Castro, Daniel Max Crowley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Given the scarce past research on custodial grandparents’ early life circumstances, we investigated frequencies, patterns, and predictors of 14 adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) reported by 355 custodial grandmothers (CGMs). Predominant ACEs were bullying (54.6%), verbal abuse (51.5%), physical abuse (45.4%), and living with a substance abuser (41.1%). Only 11% of CGMs reported 0 ACEs, whereas 52.4% reported >4. Latent class analyses yielded three classes of ACE exposure: minimal (54.1%), physical/emotional abuse (25.9%), and complex (20.0%). Age was the only demographic factor related to ACE class, with the complex class being younger than the other two. MANCOVAs with age as a covariate revealed that different ACE profiles have unique impacts on CGMs’ physical and psychological well-being. We conclude that ACEs are highly prevalent among CGMs and a serious public health concern. Future research addressing ACEs among CGMs is critical in order to support these caregivers and promote resilience in custodial grandfamilies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-110
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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