CitationHawkins, Misty A. W.; Layman, Harley M.; Ganson, Kyle T.; Tabler, Jennifer; Ciciolla, Lucia; Tsotsoros, Cindy E.; & Nagata, Jason M. (2021). Adverse childhood events and cognitive function among young adults: Prospective results from the national longitudinal study of adolescent to adult health. Child Abuse & Neglect. vol. 115
AbstractBackground Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) may have lasting impacts on cognition. Objective To determine if ACE exposure is prospectively associated with cognition in young adults. We hypothesized that deprivation- and threat-type ACEs as well as higher cumulative ACE exposure predict poorer cognition. Participants & setting Participants were from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a prospective cohort investigation of U.S. adolescents followed to adulthood. Current study participants were 18−24 years old (Wave III), 24−32 years old (Wave IV), and 31–42 years old (Wave V). The maximum Wave IV sample was 12,288 adults; Wave V was 1277 adults. Methods History of ACEs were assessed at Wave III. Three cognitive indicators were assessed at Wave IV and Wave V using the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (immediate and delayed verbal memory) and the Digit-Span Backward Task (working memory). Results The deprivation ACE of not-having-basic-needs met was associated with poorer working (β = 0.14, CI95 -0.26, −0.01), immediate (β=−0.29, CI95 −0.43, −0.15), and delayed memory (β=-0.27, CI95 −0.43, −0.12) at Wave IV; poorer immediate (β=−0.47, CI95–0.79, −0.16) and delayed memory (β=−0.33, CI95 -0.65, −0.01) at Wave V. The threat ACE of sexual abuse was associated with poorer immediate (β=−0.40, CI95 −0.62, −0.17) and delayed memory (β=−0.29, CI95 −0.55, −0.03) at Wave IV. Higher cumulative ACEs predicted poorer delayed memory (β =−0.05, CI95 −0.10, −0.01) at Wave V. Conclusions Higher ACEs, especially deprivation-type, were prospectively linked to poorer cognition. Early wide-scale screening/tailored treatments addressing ACEs and cognitive function may be warranted.
Keyword(s)Adverse childhood experiences
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleChild Abuse & Neglect
Author(s)Hawkins, Misty A. W.
Layman, Harley M.
Ganson, Kyle T.
Tsotsoros, Cindy E.
Nagata, Jason M.