Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) among American Indians in South Dakota and associations with mental health conditions, alcohol use, and smoking

Donald Warne, Kristen Dulacki, Margaret Spurlock, Thomas Meath, Melinda Davis, Bill Wright, Kenneth (John) McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Objectives. To assess the prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their association with behavioral health in American Indian (AI) and non-AI populations in South Dakota. Methods. We included the validated ACE questionnaire in a statewide health survey of 16,001 households. We examined the prevalence of ACEs and behavioral health conditions in AI and non-AI populations and associations between ACEs and behavioral health. Results. Compared with non-AIs, AIs displayed higher prevalence of ACEs including abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction and had a higher total number of ACEs. For AIs and non-AIs, having six or more ACEs significantly increased the odds for depression, anxiety, PTSD, severe alcohol misuse, and smoking compared with individuals with no ACEs. Conclusions. American Indians in South Dakota experience more ACEs, which may contribute to poor behavioral health. Preventing and mitigating the effects of ACEs may have a significant impact on health disparities in AI populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1559-1577
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017



  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Alcohol
  • Anxiety
  • Cross-sectional studies
  • Depression
  • Health surveys
  • Indians
  • North American
  • Post-traumatic
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking
  • South Dakota
  • Stress disorders
  • Surveys and questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this