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In Child abuse & neglect

BACKGROUND : Few studies have investigated how adverse childhood experiences are associated with substance use patterns during young adulthood, a crucial developmental period.

OBJECTIVE : The objective of this study was to extend current knowledge on the association between adverse childhood experiences and patterns of substance use among young adults. We also sought to understand how current mental health status and biological sex influences these patterns.

PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING : The current study utilized wave 8-wave 11 data of a longitudinal cohort study (N = 2880).

METHODS : We used latent transition analysis (LTA) to understand stability and transition patterns of substance use across participants who reported adverse childhood experiences (ACEs+) versus those who did not (ACEs-). Latent class regression was used to assess contemporaneous effects of mental health and sex on classes over time.

RESULTS : Both groups had similar patterns of substance use emerge at each timepoint: High all; Binge, tobacco, cannabis; and Steady/increasing binge drinking. ACEs+ had a higher proportion of youth in the High all class and much higher stability in this class, compared to the ACEs- group. Those in the ACES+ group were less likely to transition out of a riskier class. Mental health and sex showed differential effects across ACEs groups.

CONCLUSION : Results point to increased risk of polysubstance use, including opioids and prescription medications, among those who reported adverse childhood events. Future work may explore protective, malleable, factors that may confer reduced risk of long-term polysubstance use.

Davis Jordan P, Tucker Joan S, Stein Bradley D, D’Amico Elizabeth J


Adolescent, Childhood trauma, Longitudinal, PTSD, Victimization