Effects of childhood trauma, abuse extend well into older age

  • Rhee TG & al.
  • J Am Geriatr Soc
  • 17 Jun 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • The effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) extend well into older age, with people aged ≥65 years who have a history of ACEs significantly more likely to have received psychiatric and substance use disorder diagnoses in the last year than older adults without that history.

Why this matters

  • Clinicians treating older adults for suspected mental illness should consider a history of ACEs when making the diagnosis.

Study design

  • Study of 5806 individuals (age, ≥65 years) from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions Wave III during 2012-2013.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • 35.9% of the participants reported ACEs.
  • Individuals with ACEs vs those without had higher odds of a past-year diagnosis of:
    • Psychiatric disorder (aOR, 2.11; P<.001>
    • Generalized anxiety disorder (4.8% vs 3.1%; OR, 1.58; P<.01>
    • Major depressive disorder (8.5% vs 3.7%; OR, 2.37; P<.001>
    • Dysthymia (2.6% vs 1.3%; OR, 2.00; P<.01>
    • Posttraumatic stress disorder (4.3% vs 1.0%; OR, 4.47; P<.001>
    • Panic disorder (1.5% vs 0.5%; OR, 2.94; P<.01>
    • Bipolar I disorder (0.8% vs 0.2%; OR, 3.53; P<.05>
    • Alcohol use disorder (11.4% vs 6.8%; OR, 1.76; P<.001>
    • Tobacco use disorder (3.4% vs 1.8%; OR, 1.45; P<.01>
    • Any illicit drug use disorder (1.2% vs 0.5%; OR, 2.32; P<.05>

Limitations

  • Survey-based study.

Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD