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Childhood Trauma and Adult Risk Factors and Disease in Hispanics/Latinos in the US: Results From the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) Sociocultural Ancillary Study

Llabre, Maria M. PhD; Schneiderman, Neil PhD; Gallo, Linda C. PhD; Arguelles, William PhD; Daviglus, Martha L. MD, PhD; Gonzalez, Franklyn II MS; Isasi, Carmen R. MD, PhD; Perreira, Krista M. PhD; Penedo, Frank J. PhD

doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000394
Original Articles

Objective Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are implicated in diseases of adulthood. We report the prevalence of ACEs in Hispanics/Latinos in the US and their association with major risk factors and diseases in adulthood.

Methods Data from the Sociocultural Ancillary Study of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) were used. The Sociocultural Ancillary Study of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos is an epidemiological study conducted in four urban communities in the US: Bronx, Chicago, Miami, and San Diego. The analytic sample comprised 5117 participants, ages 18 to 74 at baseline. Linear and logistic models, adjusted for sociodemographic factors, were used to examine associations of ACEs and risk factors (depressive symptoms, obesity, smoking, and alcohol use) and chronic disease (coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer); the latter were also adjusted for risk factors.

Results Most participants (77.2%) experienced at least one ACE, and 28.7% experienced four or more. Adverse childhood experiences were common among all ancestry groups, with variability among them. Prevalence of four or more ACEs was higher among women than men (31.2% and 25.8%, respectively). Adverse childhood experiences were associated with depressive symptoms, body mass index, smoking, alcohol use, cancer, coronary heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but not asthma, diabetes, or stroke. Associations were not moderated by social support.

Conclusions Adverse childhood experiences are prevalent among US Hispanics/Latinos and are involved in disease in adulthood. The apparent higher prevalence of ACEs in US Hispanics/Latinos did not correspond with stronger associations with disease. Further studies are needed to identify factors that may moderate the associations of ACE with adult disease.

From the Department of Psychology, University of Miami (Llabre, Schneiderman, Arguelles), Coral Gables, FL; Department of Psychology, San Diego State University (Gallo), San Diego, CA; Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago (Daviglus); Department of Biostatistics and Department of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Gonzalez, Perreira); Department of Epidemiology and Population Health and Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Isasi), Bronx, NY; and Departments of Medical Social Sciences, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University (Penedo), Chicago, IL.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Maria M. Llabre, PhD, Department of Psychology; University of Miami, PO Box 248185, Coral Gables, FL 33124. E-mail:

Received for publication December 7, 2015; revision received June 15, 2016.

Copyright © 2017 by American Psychosomatic Society
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