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Child Abuse Negl. 2007 Sep;31(9):961-9. Epub 2007 Sep 14.

Adverse childhood experiences and childhood autobiographical memory disturbance.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.



To examine relationships between childhood autobiographical memory disturbance (CAMD) and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) which are defined as common forms of child maltreatment and related traumatic stressors.


We use the ACE score (an integer count of eight different categories of ACEs) as a measure of cumulative exposure to traumatic stress during childhood. In a cross sectional analysis we assess the relationship of the ACE score to the prevalence of CAMD in a sample of 9,460 relatively healthy adults evaluated for wellness care at a southern California health maintenance organization between August 1995 and March 1996. In addition, we examined possible secular influences by examining association among each of four birth cohorts. Logistic regression was used to obtain the adjusted relative odds of CAMD associated with increasing ACE score.


Overall, the age-standardized prevalence of CAMD was 18% (men: 15%; women: 19%). As the ACE score increased, the prevalence of CAMD increased in a graded fashion for both men and women (p for trend <.0001). After adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and education, adults with an ACE score >or=6 were 5.9 (95% CI, 4.4-7.9) times more likely to have CAMD compared to adults with an ACE score of 0. The prevalence of CAMD increased with each successive birth cohort, and graded relationships between the ACE score and CAMD were observed among each of the four birth cohorts though no statistical difference in the association was found across birth cohorts.


The accumulation of ACEs across several domains is associated CAMD among men and women and in each of four birth cohorts. Further research is needed that describes the prevalence of CAMD in population-based samples and that examines whether impaired memory is a marker for persons neurobiologically affected by multiple forms of child maltreatment and related traumatic stressors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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