Patterns of adverse childhood experiences and their associations with mental distress, substance use and sexual risk behaviors in Sub-Saharan Africa

As part of a Child Abuse and Neglect Journal special issue on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), this study uses VACS data from Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Namibia to assess how multiple ACEs co-occur and how dominant patterns of co-occurrence are associated with mental distress, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors among young women and men in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The study finds that discrete clusters of co-occurring ACEs are associated with elevated odds of mental distress among females, and mental distress and substance use among males. Preventing ACEs may improve mental health among young women and men in LMICs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Access the full issue in the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect on ScienceDirect.

Child abuse neglect journal