Adverse childhood experiences and personal alcohol abuse as an adult

Addict Behav. 2002 Sep-Oct;27(5):713-25. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4603(01)00204-0.


Adult alcohol abuse has been linked to childhood abuse and family dysfunction. However, little information is available about the contribution of multiple adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in combination with parental alcohol abuse, to the risk of later alcohol abuse. A questionnaire about childhood abuse, parental alcoholism and family dysfunction while growing up was completed by adult HMO members in order to retrospectively assess the independent relationship of eight ACEs to the risk of adult alcohol abuse. The number of ACEs was used in stratified logistic regression models to assess their impact on several adult alcohol problems in the presence or absence of parental alcoholism. Each of the eight individual ACEs was associated with a higher risk alcohol abuse as an adult. Compared to persons with no ACEs, the risk of heavy drinking, self-reported alcoholism, and marrying an alcoholic were increased twofold to fourfold by the presence of multiple ACEs, regardless of parental alcoholism. Prevention of ACEs and treatment of persons affected by them may reduce the occurrence of adult alcohol problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • California
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Social Environment*