Childhood Trauma and Adult Risk Factors and Disease in Hispanics/Latinos in the US: Results From the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) Sociocultural Ancillary Study

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Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are implicated in diseases of adulthood. We report the prevalence of ACEs in Hispanics/Latinos in the US and their association with major risk factors and diseases in adulthood.


Data from the Sociocultural Ancillary Study of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) were used. The Sociocultural Ancillary Study of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos is an epidemiological study conducted in four urban communities in the US: Bronx, Chicago, Miami, and San Diego. The analytic sample comprised 5117 participants, ages 18 to 74 at baseline. Linear and logistic models, adjusted for sociodemographic factors, were used to examine associations of ACEs and risk factors (depressive symptoms, obesity, smoking, and alcohol use) and chronic disease (coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer); the latter were also adjusted for risk factors.


Most participants (77.2%) experienced at least one ACE, and 28.7% experienced four or more. Adverse childhood experiences were common among all ancestry groups, with variability among them. Prevalence of four or more ACEs was higher among women than men (31.2% and 25.8%, respectively). Adverse childhood experiences were associated with depressive symptoms, body mass index, smoking, alcohol use, cancer, coronary heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but not asthma, diabetes, or stroke. Associations were not moderated by social support.


Adverse childhood experiences are prevalent among US Hispanics/Latinos and are involved in disease in adulthood. The apparent higher prevalence of ACEs in US Hispanics/Latinos did not correspond with stronger associations with disease. Further studies are needed to identify factors that may moderate the associations of ACE with adult disease.

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