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Bull World Health Organ. 2014 Sep 1;92(9):641-55. doi: 10.2471/BLT.13.129247. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Adverse childhood experiences and associations with health-harming behaviours in young adults: surveys in eight eastern European countries.

Author information

1
Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, 15-21 Webster Street, Liverpool L3 2ET, England .
2
Department of Psychology, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania .
3
Serbsky National Research Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry, Moscow, Russian Federation .
4
Department of Clinical and Organizational Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania .
5
Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Riga, Latvia .
6
Faculty of Public Health, University of Medicine, Tirana, Albania .
7
Department of Social Paediatrics, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey .
8
University Clinic of Psychiatry, St Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia .
9
Institute of Public Health, Podgorica, Montenegro.

Abstract

in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the association between adverse childhood experiences - e.g. abuse, neglect, domestic violence and parental separation, substance use, mental illness or incarceration - and the health of young adults in eight eastern European countries.

METHODS:

Between 2010 and 2013, adverse childhood experience surveys were undertaken in Albania, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Romania, the Russian Federation, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. There were 10,696 respondents - 59.7% female - aged 18-25 years. Multivariate modelling was used to investigate the relationships between adverse childhood experiences and health-harming behaviours in early adulthood including substance use, physical inactivity and attempted suicide.

FINDINGS:

Over half of the respondents reported at least one adverse childhood experience. Having one adverse childhood experience increased the probability of having other adverse childhood experiences. The number of adverse childhood experiences was positively correlated with subsequent reports of health-harming behaviours. Compared with those who reported no adverse experiences, respondents who reported at least four adverse childhood experiences were at significantly increased risk of many health-harming behaviours, with odds ratios varying from 1.68 (95% confidence interval, CI: 1.32-2.15) - for physical inactivity - to 48.53 (95% CI: 31.98-76.65) - for attempted suicide. Modelling indicated that prevention of adverse childhood experiences would substantially reduce the occurrence of many health-harming behaviours within the study population.

CONCLUSION:

Our results indicate that individuals who do not develop health-harming behaviours are more likely to have experienced safe, nurturing childhoods. Evidence-based programmes to improve parenting and support child development need large-scale deployment in eastern European.

PMID:
25378755
PMCID:
PMC4208567
DOI:
10.2471/BLT.13.129247
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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