Associations of Adverse Childhood Experiences with Past-Year DSM-5 Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders in Older Adults.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the associations of ACEs with psychiatric and substance use disorders among older adults in the United States. DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of the 2012-2013 National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions Wave III (NESARC-III). SETTING: Nationally representative drug-related health interview survey in the United States. PARTICIPANTS: Survey respondents aged 65 or older (n = 5806 unweighted). MEASUREMENTS: ACEs, the key independent variable, were assessed using validated measures. Outcome variables consisted of past-year psychiatric disorders (eg, major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder) and substance use disorders (eg, alcohol use disorder) using criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. We estimated the national prevalence of ACEs in older adults and used multivariable-adjusted logistic regression analyses to assess the association between ACEs and the outcomes after adjusting for sociodemographics and clinical comorbidities. RESULTS: Overall, 35.9% of older adults, representative of 14.8 million older adults nationwide, reported some form of ACEs. The most common types were parental psychopathology (20.3%), other traumatic events (14.0%), and physical/psychological abuse (8.4%). Having experienced any ACEs was associated with higher odds of having a past-year psychiatric disorder (adjusted odds ratio = 2.11; 95% confidence interval = 1.74-2.56). Similar results were found for substance use disorders (P < .01). CONCLUSION: ACEs are linked to an increased risk for past-year psychiatric and substance use disorders in older adults. ACEs may have long-term effects on older adults' mental well-being. Although further research is needed, preventing ACEs may lead to large improvements in public mental health that persist well into older age. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:2085-2093, 2019.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rhee, TG; Barry, LC; Kuchel, GA; Steffens, DC; Wilkinson, ST

Published Date

  • October 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 67 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 2085 - 2093

PubMed ID

  • 31206597

Pubmed Central ID

  • 31206597

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-5415

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/jgs.16032


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States