Intergenerational Continuity in Adverse Childhood Experiences and Rural Community Environments

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Abstract

Objectives

To understand the role of the community environment on intergenerational continuity in adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among a rural White sample.

Methods

Parents in 12 counties in rural Iowa reported retrospectively on their own ACEs in 1989. We measured their child’s ACEs retrospectively and prospectively across adolescence (n = 451 families). We measured structural and social process-related measures of community environment (i.e., community socioeconomic status, parents’ perception of community services, perceived community social cohesion, and neighborhood alcohol vendor density) on multiple occasions during the child’s adolescence.

Results

The 4 measures of community environment were all correlated with the child’s ACEs, but only alcohol vendor density predicted ACEs after inclusion of covariates. Intergenerational continuity in ACEs was moderated by both social cohesion (b = −0.11; SE = 0.04) and alcohol vendor density (b = −0.11; SE = 0.05).

Conclusions

Efforts to increase community social cohesion and manage alcohol vendor density may assist families in breaking the cycle of maltreatment across generations.

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