*The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.
As if suffering through a childhood trauma weren’t enough, new research suggests it might raise the risk of poor mental and physical health later in life.
Researchers analyzed nearly 2,900 responses to the 2019 New Zealand Family Violence Survey and found that about 45% of respondents said they had no adverse childhood events, a majority experienced at least one, and one-third reported more than one.
The study included eight types of childhood adversity: emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or growing up in a household where there was violence, substance abuse, mental illness, divorce, or a household member in prison.
Compared to those with no childhood trauma, poor mental health was nearly three times more prevalent among those who experienced four or more adverse childhood events.
Mental health was classified as poor if a person had been diagnosed with a long-term condition or had recently taken antidepressants or sleeping medication.
Even just one type of childhood adversity was associated with an increased risk of poor mental health. Two or more were associated with higher odds of disability and four or more with chronic physical health problems.
The risk of heart disease was higher among people who had experienced emotional or sexual abuse, witnessed interpersonal violence or lived in a household where there was substance abuse. The odds of asthma was higher among those from a household with substance abuse, mental illness, or divorce, according to the University of Auckland researchers.
The study was published recently in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.