Preliminary findings for adverse childhood experiences and associations with negative physical and mental health and victimization in transmasculine adults

Child Abuse Negl. 2021 Jun 16;118:105161. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2021.105161. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Studies highlight the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on risk for negative health outcomes in adulthood, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, substance use, and mental health. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people report higher rates of ACEs than non-LGBT people, with transgender people at greatest risk.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to comprehensively assess the prevalence of ACEs and association with health outcomes among transmasculine individuals.

PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: A sample of 131 transmasculine individuals enrolled in a clinical trial on preventive cervical cancer screening between March 2015 and September 2016 in the United States were surveyed about ACEs and health outcomes.

METHODS: Pearson’s chi-squared tests and logistic regression models were used to examine associations between self-reported ACEs prior to age 18 and the risk of various negative health outcomes in adulthood. ACEs were categorized as 0-1 ACEs, 2-3 ACEs, and 4+ ACEs.

RESULTS: Over 90% of the sample (120/131) reported at least 1 ACE; 45% (59/131) reported 4+ ACEs. Report of 4 or more ACEs increased risk for negative health outcomes and risk factors compared to 0-1 ACEs, including: depression (AOR = 5.3, 95%CI = 1.7, 16.2), suicidality (AOR = 5.2, 95%CI = 1.4, 18.8), post-traumatic stress disorder (AOR = 6.0, 95%CI (1.6, 22.8)), intimate partner violence (AOR = 5.3, 95%CI = 1.4, 18.8), and obesity (AOR = 8.2, 95%CI = 1.8, 37.2). Report of 2-3 ACEs was also significantly associated with obesity (AOR = 5.9, 95%CI = 1.3, 26.2).

CONCLUSIONS: ACEs are highly prevalent in this sample, and more attention is needed for research and intervention. This exploratory study is the first to comprehensively highlight patterns of physical and mental health risk and victimization associated with report of ACEs among transmasculine individuals. Trauma-informed screening and intervention efforts tailored to the unique needs of this population are needed to provide appropriate and effective care. Clinicians should consider routinely screening for ACEs among transmasculine youth and engage in prevention strategies to reduce health disparities. Further research is warranted to validate these findings among larger, more representative samples to better reflect the diversity of experiences and identities of transmasculine individuals and produce more reliable findings.

PMID:34146966 | DOI:10.1016/j.chiabu.2021.105161