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Monnat study on physical health consequences of adverse childhood experiences published in TSQ

Nov 27, 2016

Long-Term Physical Health Consequences of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Shannon M. Monnat & Raeven Faye Chandler

The Sociological Quarterly, November 2016

Shannon Monnat

Shannon Monnat


This study examined associations between adverse childhood family experiences and adult physical health using data from 52,250 U.S. adults aged 18 to 64 from the 2009 to 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The authors found that experiencing childhood physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, witnessing parental domestic violence, experiencing parental divorce, and living with someone who was depressed, abused drugs or alcohol, or who had been incarcerated were associated with one or more of the following health outcomes: self-rated health, functional limitations, diabetes, and heart attack.

Adult socioeconomic status and poor mental health and health behaviors significantly mediated several of these associations. The results of this study highlight the importance of family-based adverse childhood experiences on adult health outcomes and suggest that adult socioeconomic status (SES) and stress-related coping behaviors may be crucial links between trauma in the childhood home and adult health.

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