Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among 2,000 women and men in treatment for substance use: Associations with recidivism


Authors: Brianna M Bouwens and H Russell Searight
Page Range: 221-229
Published in: International Public Health Journal, 15#2 (2023)
ISSN: 1947-4989

Table of Contents


Previous studies have examined the associations between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), a measure of childhood trauma, and multiple mental health outcomes in adult life. ACEs have been linked to adult health risks such as violence, aggression, sexual behavior, and problem sub-stance use. Substance use may be a strategy for coping with the psychological effects of early trauma. Archival data from inpatient and outpatient treatment programs included the following information for approximately 2,300 participants: gender, ACEs, the primary substance used, and the number of previous treatment episodes. The data set included 970 females (42.2%) and 1,326 males (57.8%). Females obtained significantly higher ACEs scores than males. In addition, the females in the current sample exhibited significantly higher ACEs scores than females in a general, non-clinical population. Other findings indicated a small significant positive correlation between ACEs score and the number of treatment episodes. ACEs scores also differed by participants reported primary substance of choice with significantly higher ACEs scores for methamphetamine/other opiates/synthetics and other amphetamines.

Keywords: Adverse childhood experiences, ACEs, substance use, substance use treatment, relapse factors

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