Send to

Choose Destination
Child Abuse Negl. 2014 Nov;38(11):1787-93. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.06.003. Epub 2014 Jun 25.

Adverse childhood experiences, chronic diseases, and risky health behaviors in Saudi Arabian adults: a pilot study.

Author information

National Family Safety Program, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdulaziz Medical City - National Guard Health Affairs, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Saudi Arabia.


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked with risky health behaviors and the development of chronic diseases in adulthood. This study examined associations between ACEs, chronic diseases, and risky behaviors in adults living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2012 using the ACE International Questionnaire (ACE-IQ). A cross-sectional design was used, and adults who were at least 18 years of age were eligible to participate. ACEs event scores were measured for neglect, household dysfunction, abuse (physical, sexual, and emotional), and peer and community violence. The ACE-IQ was supplemented with questions on risky health behaviors, chronic diseases, and mood. A total of 931 subjects completed the questionnaire (a completion rate of 88%); 57% of the sample was female, 90% was younger than 45 years, 86% had at least a college education, 80% were Saudi nationals, and 58% were married. One-third of the participants (32%) had been exposed to 4 or more ACEs, and 10%, 17%, and 23% had been exposed to 3, 2, or 1 ACEs respectively. Only 18% did not have an ACE. The prevalence of risky health behaviors ranged between 4% and 22%. The prevalence of self-reported chronic diseases ranged between 6% and 17%. Being exposed to 4 or more ACEs increased the risk of having chronic diseases by 2-11 fold, and increased risky health behaviors by 8-21 fold. The findings of this study will contribute to the planning and development of programs to prevent child maltreatment and to alleviate the burden of chronic diseases in adults.


Adverse childhood experience; Chronic disease; Risky health behavior; Saudi Arabia

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center