Enduring Effects of Childhood Adversities: Evidence From Adult Health Behaviors and Health Outcomes
1Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Background: As part of a WHO programme to improve child health across Europe, we conducted a study to evaluate the prevalence of exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACE), and examine relationships between ACE exposure and harming health behaviours and health status in young adults. Methods: The sample consisted from 2088 Romanian university students, aged 18-25. ACE Survey measures emotional, physical and sexual abuse, as well as family dysfunction (e.g., an incarcerated or substance-abusing family member). Individuals were categorised according to number of ACEs experienced. Findings: Modelling identified proportions of health harming behaviours and health complains independently associated with ACEs. The odds of engaging in alcohol and drug consumption, as well sexual risk behaviors were higher as the number of ACEs increased. Increasing of exposure to ACEs has increased significantly the odds for experiencing depression, suicidal behavior, insomnia, as well as digestive symptoms, headaches, low back pain. Discussion: Considering the high prevalence of ACEs, several preventive and health promotion recommendations are presented.