Associations Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Stressful Life Events and Health Outcomes in Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women from Diverse Racial and Ethnic Groups

Lisa Zak-Hunter, Christopher P. Carr, Allan Tate, Abby Brustad, Kaitlyn Mulhern, Jerica M. Berge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: This study sought to understand the characteristics of racially/ethnically diverse pregnant and breastfeeding women who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and stressful life events (SLEs) and the relationship among ACEs, SLEs, and health outcomes in this population. Materials and Methods: This was a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the Family Matters study. The participants in this study were families with children ages 5-9 (N = 1,307) recruited from Minneapolis-St. Paul primary care clinics representing six racial/ethnic backgrounds (White, Black, Native American, Hmong, Somali, Latino). Primary caregivers completed surveys about personal health, parenting styles, resilience, ACEs, and SLEs. Linear and logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between ACEs and SLEs with health outcomes of pregnant and breastfeeding women at the individual level. Results: A total of 123 racially/ethnically diverse women in this study reported being pregnant or currently breastfeeding. Eighty-eight (72%) reported a history of ACEs or SLEs. Those with both ACEs/SLEs reported more depression, economic strain, and a shorter duration of living in the United States. An increase in one reported ACE or SLE was positively associated with self-reported stress, number of reported medical conditions, substance use, self-efficacy, and permissive parenting (all β coefficients p < 0.05). SLEs independently demonstrated increased predictive probability of severe mental health distress (6.7 percentage points, confidence interval [95% CI: 0.02-0.11; p < 0.01]) and moderate or severe anxiety (7.5 percentage points [95% CI: 0.04-0.11; p < 0.001]). Conclusion: Exposure to ACEs and SLEs appear to have significant impacts on physical health, mental health, and substance use in pregnant racially/ethnically diverse women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-714
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2023, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2023.

Keywords

  • adverse childhood experiences
  • pregnancy
  • racially/ethnically diverse women
  • stress

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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