Date of Award
Master of Public Health (MPH)
Dr. Shanta R. Dube
Dr. Matt Hayat
The Association Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Educational Outcomes Among Children Ages 6-17
INTRODUCTION: Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs have been at the forefront of conversations regarding early childhood and youth development in recent years. The term adverse childhood experience refers to potentially traumatic events that occur during childhood which can have negative, lasting effects on health and wellbeing (Child Trends Research Brief, 2016).Adverse childhood experiences are not reserved to an individual’s physical health. ACEs also have psychological implications, and can affect an individual’s learning capacity and behavior (Burke, Hellman, Scott, Weems, and Carrion, 2011). Emerging research links adverse childhood experiences to poor learning outcomes and behavioral challenges in children (Burke, Hellman, Scott, Weems, and Carrion, 2011).
AIM: This study will look at two educational outcomes, ‘caring about doing well in school’ and ‘doing all required homework’, to determine how ACEs affect those outcomes. The goal is to understand what particular aspects of the educational process are disrupted when a child faces an adverse experience.
METHODS: Data were obtained from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). The study sample included 65,593 children between the ages of 6 and 17 years of age. Descriptive characteristics and adverse childhood experiences were reported by parents who served as proxy respondents for selected children. Parents also reported on two educational outcomes ‘child cares to do well in school’ and ‘child does all required homework’. Prevalence estimates were collected for descriptive characteristics and adverse childhood experiences. Multiple logistic regression models were used to determine the weighted adjusted and unadjusted odds ratios for the association between exposure to adverse childhood experiences and the two educational outcomes ‘caring to do well in school’ and ‘does all required homework’.
RESULTS: The results suggest significant associations between exposure to adverse childhood experiences and a decreased likelihood of ‘caring to do well in school’ and ‘doing all required homework’ in both males and females. Male children exposed to two (OR=0.52, CI: 0.18-0.45), three (OR=0.28, CI: 0.18-0.45), and four or more ACEs (OR=0.26, CI: 0.18-0.38) were less likely to care about doing well in school when compared to males exposed to zero ACEs after adjustments for confounding. Females exposed to two (OR=0.57, CI: 0.34-0.97) and four or more (OR=0.22, CI: 0.12-0.39) ACEs were less likely to care about doing well in school when compared to female children exposed to zero ACEs after adjustments for confounding. Male children exposed to one ACE (OR=0.66, CI: 0.47-0.93), two ACEs (OR=0.45, CI: 0.30-0.65), three ACEs (OR=0.37, CI: 0.23-0.58), and four or more ACEs (OR=0.21, CI: 0.14-0.31) were less likely to do all required homework when compared to males exposed to zero ACEs after adjustments for confounding. Females exposed to two ACEs (OR=0.39, CI: 0.23-0.65), three ACEs (OR=0.18, CI: 0.10-0.34), and four or more ACEs (OR=0.12, CI: 0.07-0.22) were less likely to do all required homework when compared to females exposed to zero ACEs, after adjustments for confounding.
DISCUSSION: The prevalence of ACEs across the United States require a multi-disciplinary approach to prevention and intervention. Prevention efforts, such as home visiting programs, should be instituted to reduce the incidence of childhood adversity. Intervention efforts, such as school based health centers and trauma sensitive schools, should focus on alleviating symptoms of trauma in the school setting. Future research should explore how prevention and intervention measures attenuate the risk of poor educational outcomes. These studies should be longitudinal in an effort to demonstrate causation.
McDowell, Naeshia, "The Association Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Educational Outcomes Among Children Ages 6-17." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2017.