Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Megan V. Smith

Abstract

Emerging evidence suggests that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are prevalent within the population and are linked to various negative long-term health and social consequences. The effect childhood maltreatment has on an individual's ability to maintain social connectedness may be a potential pathway as to how early adversity increases the likelihood of future negative health consequences. Using the 2011/12 National Survey of Children's Health, this thesis will explore the influence ACEs has on three areas of social connectedness: bonding, bridging, and linking. Results from the multivariate logistic regression model show that there was a significant association between ACEs and bonding as well as between ACEs and linking after adjusting for covariates. For every one-unit increase in ACE count, a child was 9% less likely to be engaged in bonding (OR: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.87, 0.94). For every one-unit increase in ACE count, a child was 6% more likely to experience linking (OR: 1.06; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.10). ACEs were also common within the estimated population, with children across the nation estimated to have an average of 1.1 ACEs (SD: 1.50).

The results of this thesis suggest the importance of providing opportunities for youth to become socially engaged outside of the home. In particular, youth with high ACE counts may benefit the most since the likelihood of being bonded with the family significantly decreases with each additional ACE. Implementation of programs that promote early childhood development and improve parent-child interactions may also be another strategy to prevent youth from falling into isolating social environments that can be detrimental to their immediate and future wellbeing.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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