Experiences of childhood adversity across generations – Continuity or change? A study from the Northern Ireland youth wellbeing survey

Lisa Bunting, Claire McCartan, Gavin Davidson, Anne Grant , Dirk Schubotz, Orla McBride, Jamie Murphy, Emma Nolan, M Shevlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Although a wealth of international literature consistently links cumulative experiences of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) with physical, mental and emotional problems in later life, only a few studies have focused on intergenerational ACE exposure and research using nationally representative populations is lacking.

OBJECTIVE: This paper examines intergenerational associations between parent and child ACE scores in a large nationally representative sample of parent-child dyads.

PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: Participant comprise 1042 pairs of parents and young people (11-19 year olds) who both completed questions relating to their exposure to ACEs (N = 1042) as part the Northern Ireland Youth Wellbeing Survey (NIYWS) - a stratified random probability household survey of the prevalence of mental health disorders among 2 to 19 year olds in Northern Ireland (N = 3074).

METHODS: Hierarchical regression was used to identify the relationship between parent and young people ACE scores and investigate the extent to which this is influenced by child, parent, family and socio-economic variables.

RESULTS: In the final model, young person ACE scores were associated with older child age (β = 0.082, p = .016), younger parental age (β = -0.083, p = .022), fewer children in the household (β = -0.120, p < .001), poor child health (β = 0.160, p < .001), low family support (β = 0.118, p = .001) and the household being in receipt of benefits (β = 0.223, p < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: This study found a small association between parent and young person ACE exposure which was attenuated through other variables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105568
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse & Neglect
Volume127
Early online date2 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding information
This survey was commissioned and funded by the Social Care Directorate (Children's' Services and Think Family NI), Health and Social Care Board and we are particularly grateful for the work of Catriona Rooney (Commissioning Lead (CAMHS), NI Health and Social Care Board) who was instrumental in making this study possible.


Funding Information:
Firstly, we are grateful for all the parents and young people who participated in this study and who generously shared their time with the research team. This survey was commissioned and funded by the Social Care Directorate (Children's' Services and Think Family NI), Health and Social Care Board and we are particularly grateful for the work of Catriona Rooney (Commissioning Lead (CAMHS), NI Health and Social Care Board) who was instrumental in making this study possible. The Prevalence Study Project Board, chaired by Martin Quinn (NI Health and Social Care Board), and the International Advisory Group assisted the team from the study's inception and offered their expertise and valued advice at each stage of the project. We would like to thank them for their hard work and contribution to this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Adverse childhood experience
  • child maltreatment
  • Intergenerational research
  • Prevalence survey
  • mental health
  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Mental health
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Child maltreatment
  • Prevalence
  • Humans
  • Parents
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Adolescent
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Child
  • Northern Ireland/epidemiology

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