Online Program

Assessing the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Alcohol Use among Midwestern Undergraduate Students

Monday, November 2, 2015

Theresa Hunter, MPH, MS, CHES, School of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Jonathon Beckmeyer, PhD, Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Susan M Smith, EdD, MSPH, Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana School of Public Health Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Nancy T. Ellis, HSD, MPH, School of Public Health, SPH 116, Indiana University, School of Public Health, Bloomington, IN
Background: Research has reported that adverse childhood experiences can lead to emotional, cognitive, physical, social and behavioral problems in later adulthood. While published research has investigated the association between early childhood experiences and negative health behaviors in adults ages 30-65, there is a lack in research that determines whether an association exists between college students’ self-reported adverse childhood experiences and alcohol use disorder.

Methods: The study sample included 1,369 undergraduate college students attending one of state universities in the Midwest region of the United States. Participants completed the Life Events and Behaviors Survey that consisted of demographic information, the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACE) and the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). A logistic regression model was used to test the differences in alcohol use between the three categories of adverse childhood experiences (no adverse childhood experiences, 1-3 adverse childhood experiences, and four or more adverse childhood experiences) when controlling for age, race, sex, sexual orientation, and whether or not a participant received free or reduce lunch.

Results: In the sample, 55.8% participants reported at-least one adverse childhood experience. . In the sample, 605 (44.2%) of participants were in the No ACE Group, 535 (39.0%) were in the 1-3 ACE Group, and 229 (16.7%) were in the 4 or more ACE Group. In the 4 or more ACE Group, 109 (47.6%) were in the At-risk AUDIT Group. A Chi-square test determined that there was a significantly significant association between AUDIT Group and ACE Group (x (1) = 15.738, p < .05). The logistic regression model was statistically significant X2(2) = 32.727, p < .05.

Conclusion: Participants in the 4 or more ACE Group were 2.4 times more likely to exhibit at-risk alcohol use than those in the No ACE Group.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the association between adverse childhood experiences and alcohol use among college students. Explain how adverse childhood experiences increase alcohol use. List ways that universities can create programs and policies to decrease alcohol use among students.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the P.I. on this research project. This study was done for my PhD dissertation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.