Date of Award

Fall 1-9-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Monica Swahn

Second Advisor

Dr. Shanta Dube


Objective: To examine the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences and associations with early alcohol use initiation and alcohol use patterns among high-risk urban youth in Kampala, Uganda.

Methodology: Data from the Kampala Youth Survey (N=457) conducted in May through June 2011 in Kampala, Uganda was used for analysis. Indicators of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) included: hunger, having parents, talking to parents, ever having lived on the street, parents hitting each other, parents hitting children and parental use of alcohol. These were dichotomized as either possessing the characteristic or not. Alcohol outcomes assessed were; age at alcohol initiation (age 13 was the cutoff point), frequent drinking and heavy drinking. Bivariate and multinomial logistic regression analyses were computed to determine statistical association between ACEs and alcohol use.

Results: Findings in this study showed that parents hitting the youth, parental alcohol use, hunger, having ever lived on the street, and having been raped were significantly associated with the youth’s age of alcohol initiation by age 13, frequent drinking and heavy drinking in bivariate analyses. Results also showed gender differences for: parental alcohol use, parents hitting each other, being hungry, ever having lived on the street and having been raped. Girls reported higher values for most measures. Parental use of alcohol, having ever lived on the street and having been raped were particularly significant included in a multivariate model.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that adverse childhood experiences are strongly associated with early alcohol use initiation as well as frequent and heavy drinking.