Classes of lifetime adversity in emerging adult women and men and their associations with weight status

Jeanie Santaularia, Majel R. Baker, Darin Erickson, Patricia Frazier, Melissa N. Laska, Katherine A Lust, Susan M. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The aim of this paper was to better understand how child and adult adversities cluster together into classes, and how these classes relate to body weight and obesity. Analyses included 2015 and 2018 data from emerging adults (18–25 years old) who participated in a state surveillance system of 2- and 4-year college students in Minnesota (N = 7475 in 2015 and N = 6683 in 2018). Latent Class Analyses (LCA) of 12 child and adult adversities were run stratified by gender and replicated between 2015 and 2018. The distal outcome procedure and three-step Bolck-Croon-Hagenaars approach were used to estimate predicted BMI means and predicted probabilities of obesity for each class, adjusted for covariates. The LCA identified seven classes in women and 5 in men. In women, BMI ranged from 23.9 kg/m2 in the lowest-BMI class (“Adult Adversities and Childhood Household Dysfunction”; 95% CI: 22.6–25.1) to 27.3 kg/m2 in the highest-BMI class (“High Lifetime Adversities”; 95% CI: 25.9–28.7), a statistically significant difference of 3.4 kg/m2. In men, the adjusted BMIs ranged from 24.6 kg/m2 (“Low Adversities”; 95% CI: 24.3–25.0) to 26.0 kg/m2 (“Childhood Household Mental Illness”; 95% CI: 25.1–26.9), a statistically significant difference of 1.4 kg/m2. The pattern was similar for obesity. These results indicate that specific classes of child and adult adversities are strongly associated with BMI and obesity, particularly in women. A key contribution of LCA appeared to be identification of small classes at high risk for excess weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106455
JournalPreventive medicine
StatePublished - May 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Grant R21DK117466 from the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) . The authors gratefully acknowledge additional support from the Minnesota Population Center ( P2C HD041023 ) and the Interdisciplinary Population Health Science Training Program ( T32HD095134 ) funded through a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) . The study sponsors had no involvement in the study design, collection, analysis, interpretation of data, writing, or decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Latent class analysis
  • Obesity


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