Background: Prior studies have demonstrated an association between experiencing trauma in childhood and poorer self-rated health in adulthood. Much less is known about this association among low-income minority patients in primary care settings.
Methods: We replicated the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, a collaborative venture between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente, with a low-income minority sample of primary care patients (N = 801) at a community-based healthcare center. We conducted a cross-sectional retrospective quantitative survey study. Data were analyzed using binary logistic regression to evaluate the hypothesis that low-income minority patients who reported more childhood trauma (abuse, neglect, household dysfunction, cumulative adverse childhood experiences [ACEs]) would more likely have reported poorer health in adulthood.
Results: The number of ACEs in our sample was considerably higher than the original CDC ACE Study, as almost 50% of patients surveyed at our clinic reported 4 or more ACEs, confirming that trauma is central among individuals served in many urban primary care settings. The results of the ACE abuse, neglect, and cumulative ACEs score were in the expected direction and statistically significant suggesting that participants who reported more childhood abuse and neglect and who reported more childhood trauma (cumulative/total ACEs) were more likely to report poorer health in adulthood.
Conclusion: These findings have implications for providers, researchers, and policy makers to develop more collaborative approaches to primary care that better target the negative sequelae of ACEs.
Keywords: childhood trauma, self-rated health, ethnic minority