Research & Resources

Impact of Childhood Trauma on Substance Use in Hispanic Emerging Adults

Researchers examined the role of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) in substance use trajectories among Hispanic emerging adults. A cohort of 1,399 Hispanic adolescents in Southern California across eight survey waves (beginning in 9th grade and continuing through emerging adulthood) were surveyed. ACE was a significant predictor at 9th grade across all substances. Every additional ACE was associated with significantly higher past 30-day cigarette use, marijuana use, and alcohol use. Across all models, cross-level interactions between ACE and time indicated that young adults exposed to more ACE experience significantly steeper inclining trajectories of 30-day cigarette use, marijuana use, and alcohol use than young adults with fewer ACE. Results highlight the graded effect of ACE on substance use during and beyond adolescence and showed that ACE exposure is linked to an escalation of substance use frequency.

This paper, “The impact of childhood trauma on substance use trajectories from adolescence to adulthood: Findings from a longitudinal Hispanic cohort study,” was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.

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