Association between Adverse Childhood Events and Multimorbidity in a Racial and Ethnic Diverse Sample of Middle-Aged and Older Adults

Elizabeth Vásquez, Ana Quinõnes, Stephanie Ramirez, Tomoko Udo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Adverse childhood events (ACEs) have been associated with increased health risks later in life. However, it is unclear whether ACEs may be associated with multimorbidity among diverse racial/ethnic middle-aged and older adults. We evaluated whether there were racial and ethnic differences in the association between ACEs and the number of somatic and psychiatric multimorbidity in a sample of U.S. middle-aged and older adults. Research Design and Methods: Data from the 2012-2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (N = 10,727; ≥55 years) were used to test whether the number of self-reported somatic conditions (i.e., heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, and chronic lung problems) as well as DSM-5 psychiatric disorders (i.e., depression) during the past 12 months differed by history of ACEs while stratifying by age (i.e., 55-64 or ≥65) and racial/ethnic group (i.e., non-Hispanic White [NHW; n = 7,457], non-Hispanic Black [NHB; n = 1,995], and Hispanic [n=1275]). Results: The prevalence of reporting more than two somatic conditions and psychiatric disorders was 48.8% and 11.4% for those with a history of ACEs, and 41.1% and 3.3% for those without a history of ACEs. Adjusting for sociodemographic and other health risk factors, ACEs was significantly associated with greater numbers of somatic multimorbidity among racial and ethnic middle-aged adults but this was not the case for older adults. Discussion and Implications: Our findings suggest that middle-aged adults with a history of ACEs are more likely to suffer from somatic and psychiatric multimorbidity, highlighting the importance of screening for ACEs in promoting healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberigz016
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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