Saturday, December 26, 2015

Adverse Childhood Experiences Related to Poor Adult Health among Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Individuals

We explored the association of sexual orientation with poor adult health outcomes before and after adjustment for exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

Data were from the 2012 North Carolina, 2011 Washington, and 2011 and 2012 Wisconsin Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys regarding health risks, perceived poor health, and chronic conditions by sexual orientation and 8 categories of ACEs. There were 711 lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) respondents and 29 690 heterosexual respondents.

LGB individuals had a higher prevalence of all ACEs than heterosexuals, with odds ratios ranging from 1.4 to 3.1. After adjustment for cumulative exposure to ACEs, sexual orientation was no longer associated with poor physical health, current smoking, and binge drinking. Associations with poor mental health, activity limitation, HIV risk behaviors, current asthma, depression, and disability remained, but were attenuated.

The higher prevalence of ACEs among LGB individuals may account for some of their excess risk for poor adult health outcomes. 

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  • 1At the time of the study, Anna Austin and Scott Proescholdbell were with the Injury Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, Chronic Disease and Injury Section, Division of Public Health, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Raleigh. Harry Herrick was with the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Center for Health Statistics, Division of Public Health, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Raleigh. 

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