Adverse Childhood Experiences and Risky Behaviors in Male College Students
The current study examined associations between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and health-risk behaviors in male college students.
795 men who attended a large southern public university.
One-way ANOVA was used to explore whether the ACEs of sexual abuse, exposure to interparental violence, household mental illness, and household substance abuse significantly affected male college students’ high risk alcohol use, number of sexual partners, and/or impulsivity.
Sexual abuse was significantly associated with all three measured outcomes and had the strongest associations of all assessed ACEs. Exposure to interparental violence was significantly associated only with number of sexual partners. Household substance abuse was significantly associated with high risk alcohol use and number of sexual partners. A simple linear regression revealed that for each additional ACE, students in the sample increased their risky behaviors.
Results confirm a dose-response between ACEs and negative outcomes. Mindfulness training, policy/funding advocacy, and trauma-informed support are discussed as implications.