Adverse childhood experiences, adult anxiety and social capital among women in rural Kenya

Michael Goodman, Larissa Baker, Agnes Karambu Maigallo, Aleisha Elliott, Philip Keiser, Lauren Raimer-Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hundreds of millions of people suffer anxiety disorders globally, demonstrating need for scalable and effective interventions. Adverse childhood experiences contribute to this mental health burden. The stress-buffering hypothesis, which posits social factors moderate prior adversity and subsequent mental health outcomes, provides one theoretical avenue to consider observations that group-based microfinance programs improve social capital. We investigate associations between adverse childhood experiences, generalized anxiety among adults and social capital associated with participation in a group-based microfinance program in rural Kenya. Adult participants (n = 400 women) responded to standardized measures of childhood adversity in June 2018, group-affiliated social capital and generalized anxiety in June 2019. Cumulative adverse childhood experiences predicted higher anxiety, which was statistically moderated by the presence of group-affiliated interpersonal trust. This study is the first to find social capital associated with participation in a group-based microfinance program statistically moderates expected associations between adverse childhood experiences and adult generalized anxiety. Future study should be conducted using a cluster-randomized control design to further assess the potential of this intervention method to ameliorate associations between past adversity and current mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102614
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume91
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Buffering hypothesis
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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