Hsiao-Lin Hwa, Jui-Ying Feng, Yi-Ping Hsieh, Joyce Yen Feng, April Chiung-Tao Shen, Hsi-Sheng Wei, & Soar Ching-Yu Huang (2014). The association between parental adverse childhood experiences and children’s health. CIFA 4th Regional Symposium—Visioning the Future of Families: Policy and Practice. Shanghai, China (2014/11/13-15).
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are recognized worldwide problems with huge implications for children’s health and behavior. This study aimed to examine the relationships among parental adverse childhood experience and their abusive behaviors toward their children and children’s health outcomes.
Children in the 4th grade (aged 10) and their caregivers were randomly selected from primary schools in Taiwan. Participants were asked to complete self-reported, structured questionnaires independently. Parents’ ACE was measured by 10 items of adverse experiences in childhood. The Child’s Developmental History and Health History Questionnaires were used to measure children’s development and experiences of illness, hospitalization, injury and medication.
A total of 683 parent-child dyads (53.3 % female children and 72.9 % female parents) completed the questionnaires. One hundred and sixty-nine (24.7%) parents reported having 1-3 ACEs, and twenty-eight (4.1%)reported having 4 or more ACEs. Compared to those who had no or fewer ACEs, parents in the high ACEs group (≥4) were more likely to be females, divorced, lower education and incomes, and less interacted with friends and relatives (p< .01). Children of the high ACE parents had more physical health problems (seizures, headaches/dizziness and kidney diseases), and were more likely to witness domestic violence than children of the other two groups.
This study presents the prevalence of parents with ACEs in Taiwan. The results suggest an association between parental exposure to 4 or more ACEs and increased risk for children’s physical health problems and witness of domestic violence. Efforts should be made to prevent and mitigate ACEs.