Parental absence as an adverse childhood experience among young adults in sub-Saharan Africa

As part of a Child Abuse and Neglect Journal special issue on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), this study assesses whether parental absence for six months or more in childhood is associated with poor mental health and substance use in young adulthood and whether parental absence accounts for additional variance beyond those explained by other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among youth in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically in Cote d'Ivoire, Lesotho, Kenya, Namibia, and Mozambique.

Parental absence in childhood has been associated with multiple negative consequences, such as depression and anxiety in young adulthood. This study concludes that the observed association between parental absence and poor mental health suggests that this experience has significant adverse consequences and merits consideration as an ACE.

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Child abuse neglect journal