CitationKim, Youngmi; Lee, Haenim; & Park, Aely (2020). Adverse childhood experiences, economic hardship, and obesity: Differences by gender. Children and Youth Services Review. vol. 116
AbstractThe detrimental effects of childhood trauma and stress do not dissipate over time, enduring well into adulthood and affecting health and quality of life over the course of time. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) also appear to negatively affect socioeconomic status, which elevates long-term health risks in adulthood. This study aims to examine (1) the pathway from ACEs, economic hardship, to the risk of obesity in young adulthood and (2) gender differences in the mediating role of economic hardship between ACEs and obesity. We conducted latent class analysis and a multiple group path analysis, using three waves of data from adolescence to young adulthood in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (n = 10,091). Findings present three classes of exposure to ACEs: low adversity, child maltreatment, and family dysfunction. In both women and men subgroups, the “child maltreatment” and “family dysfunction” classes experienced economic hardship more than the “low adversity” class, yet no direct association between ACEs and obesity was found. The indirect effect of economic hardship on obesity was observed only in women. Women classified to the “child maltreatment” and the “family dysfunction” classes were more likely to have obesity status by experiencing economic hardship in young adulthood, compared to the “low adversity” class. This study highlights heterogeneous types of ACEs and gender differences in the mediating role of economic hardship as a related stress. In obesity interventions, policymakers and practitioners should be aware that economic hardship may intermediate the effects of ACEs on obesity particularly for women.
Keyword(s)Adverse childhood experiences
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleChildren and Youth Services Review