Adverse childhood experiences and chronic disease risk in the southern community cohort study

Maureen Sanderson, Charles P. Mouton, Mekeila Cook, Jianguo Liu, William J. Blot, Margaret K. Hargreaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We used the Southern Community Cohort Study of people residing in 12 states in the southeastern United States (n=38,200 participants) to examine associations between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and chronic disease risk. After adjustment for confounding, there were statistically significant positive associations for people reporting four or more ACEs relative to those reporting no ACEs, and this was true for all chronic diseases except hypertension. The most elevated risk was seen for depression when mea-sured as a yes/no variable (odds ratio (OR) 2.84, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.64–3.06) or when using the 10-item Center for Epidemiologic Student Depression (CESD) scale (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.75–2.02). There were also statistically significant monotonic increases in risk with worsening ACE score for all chronic diseases except hypertension, cancer, and high cholesterol. The need to establish programs that build resilience during childhood is paramount for preventing chronic diseases that may result from childhood abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1384-1402
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Chronic disease
  • Cross-sectional analysis
  • Southern community cohort study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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