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Anxiety, Depression, and Adverse Childhood Experiences: An Update on Risks and Protective Factors Among Children and Youth

Published:December 01, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2022.11.013
      In “The Association of Adverse Childhood Experiences with Anxiety and Depression for Children and Youth, 8 to 17 Years of Age”, we found that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which encompass abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction before the age of 18, were associated with significantly higher odds of anxiety and depression.
      • Elmore AL
      • Crouch E.
      The association of adverse childhood experiences with anxiety and depression for children and youth, 8 to 17 years of age.
      Based on 2016–2017 National Survey of Children's Health data, our study provided prevalence estimates for current anxiety (9%) and current depression (4%) among children and youth.
      • Elmore AL
      • Crouch E.
      The association of adverse childhood experiences with anxiety and depression for children and youth, 8 to 17 years of age.
      We found that 8% of children experienced 4 or more ACEs and the two most common types were parental divorce/separation (31%) and economic hardship (25%).
      • Elmore AL
      • Crouch E.
      The association of adverse childhood experiences with anxiety and depression for children and youth, 8 to 17 years of age.
      By examining the outcomes of anxiety and depression separately, we found that the magnitude of association between nearly all ACE exposures and depression were stronger than those with anxiety. Thus, our study highlighted the importance of examining the impact of ACEs on internalizing behaviors, such as anxiety and depression, by specific condition for comprehensive pediatric prevention and treatment efforts.
      • Elmore AL
      • Crouch E.
      The association of adverse childhood experiences with anxiety and depression for children and youth, 8 to 17 years of age.
      Since we submitted our publication in September 2019, researchers have provided updated prevalence estimates and examined the impact of ACEs on co-occurring anxiety and depression. In this progress report, we discuss literature that updates and expands our prior work.

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