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Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Health Outcomes Among Veteran and Non-Veteran Women.
McCauley HL, Blosnich JR, Dichter ME. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Health Outcomes Among Veteran and Non-Veteran Women. Journal of women's health (2002). 2015 Sep 1; 24(9):723-9.
Women veterans represent a vulnerable population with unique health needs and disparities in access to care. One constellation of exposures related to subsequent poor health includes adverse childhood experiences (ACEs; e.g., physical and sexual child abuse), though research on impacts of ACEs among women veterans is limited.
Data were drawn from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for the 11 states that included the ACE module (n = 36,485). Weighted chi-squared tests and multivariable logistic regression were used to assess the prevalence of ACEs among women veterans compared with women non-veterans and differences in the following outcomes, controlling for ACEs: social support, inadequate sleep, life satisfaction, mental distress, smoking, heavy alcohol use, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease symptoms, asthma, and disability.
Women veterans (1.6% of the total sample) reported a higher prevalence of 7 out of 11 childhood adversities and higher mean ACE score than women non-veterans. Women veterans were more likely to be current smokers and report a disability, associations which were attenuated when controlling for ACE.
Despite women veterans' higher prevalence of ACE, their health outcomes did not differ substantially from non-veterans. Further research is needed to understand the intersections of traumatic experiences and sources of resilience over the lifecourse among women veterans.