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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAlbany: Association Between ACEs and Multi-morbidity in a Racial and Ethnic Diverse Sample of Middle-Aged and Older Adults

Adverse childhood events (ACEs) have been associated with increased health risks later in life. However, it is unclear whether ACEs may be associated with multi-morbidity (the presence of two or more chronic medical conditions) among diverse racial and ethnic middle-aged and older adults. In order to get a better understanding, University at Albany School of Public Health’s Dr. Elizabeth Vasquez, Dr. Tomoko Udo, and MPH graduate Ms. Stephanie Ramirez evaluated whether there were racial and ethnic differences in the association between ACEs and the number of somatic and psychiatric multi-morbidity in a sample of U.S. middle-aged and older adults. Somatic conditions refer to conditions with a physical focus such as diabetes and cancer whereas psychiatric disorders refer to conditions such as depression.

The study involved 10,727 adults who were 55 years of age or older. Researchers used data from the 2012–2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions to test whether the number of self-reported somatic conditions and psychiatric disorders during the past 12 months differed by history of ACEs while stratifying (categorizing) by age and racial and ethnic group. After adjusting for sociodemographic and other health risk factors, ACEs were significantly associated with greater numbers of somatic multi-morbidity among racial and ethnic middle-aged adults. However, this was not the case for older adults.

The findings show that middle-aged adults with a history of ACEs are more likely to suffer from somatic and psychiatric multi-morbidity. This highlights the importance of screening for ACEs in promoting healthy aging. In-depth results of this study can be found in Innovation in Aging.

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