Date of Award
Senior Honors Thesis
College or School
Health Management and Policy
Bachelor of Science
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic instances in the first 18 years of life including abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has outlined priority health-risk behaviors among adolescents as substance use, violent behaviors, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and unsafe sexual behaviors. Previous research has linked both ACEs and health-risk behaviors to negative health outcomes including disability, chronic disease, and substance use. That said, understanding and preventing risky behaviors among adolescents and working to reduce the lasting harm caused by ACEs can lead to healthier adults and communities going forward.
This research defines ACEs and adolescent health-risk behaviors using the New Hampshire 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and examines the relationship between the two variables using SAS software. With SAS, adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using binary logistic regression models while adjusting for covariates such as demographic information. The results showed positive associations between the engagement of health-risk behaviors and ACEs, food insecurity, grade-level, and the lack of at least one trusted adult for social support. The major finding was that for every incremental increase in ACE score, respondents were 1.71 times as likely to engage in health-risk behaviors. Furthermore, all these variables were statistically significant.
This research emphasizes the importance of awareness and public health interventions aimed at children and families that mitigate the impact of ACEs and prevent the onset of risky behavior choices to buffer against future health issues and social problems in adulthood.
Malik, Riana S., "Examining the Relationship between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Adolescents in New Hampshire" (2020). Honors Theses and Capstones. 513.