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Elsevier, Child Abuse and Neglect, (51), p. 21-30

DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.11.017

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Adverse childhood experiences: Prevalence and related factors in adolescents of a Brazilian birth cohort

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Abstract

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can affect people's health and wellbeing not only at the time the ACE is experienced, but also later in life. The majority of studies on ACEs are carried out in high-income countries and little is known about its prevalence in low and middle-income countries. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of ACEs, associations between ACEs and sociodemographic factors, and the interrelationship between types of ACEs in adolescents of a Brazilian birth cohort. Data from 3,951 adolescents (78.4% of the original cohort) from the 1993 Pelotas Cohort were analyzed. Seven types of ACEs were assessed in those up to 18 years old: physical abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, domestic violence, parental separation and parental death. The most common ACE was parental separation (42%), followed by emotional neglect (19.7%) and domestic violence (10.3%). Approximately 85% of the adolescents experienced at least one ACE, and females reported a higher number of adversities. Several socioeconomic, demographic and family-related characteristics were associated with the occurrence of ACEs, e.g. non-white skin color, low family income, low maternal schooling, absence of mother's partner, maternal smoking, and poor maternal mental health. A strong interrelationship was observed among the ACEs, indicating clustering of risk. These aspects should be considered by health and social care professionals in the prevention and identification of childhood adversities.