Associations between adverse childhood experiences, psychological distress, and adult alcohol problems

Am J Health Behav. 2012 Mar;36(3):408-23. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.36.3.11.


Objective: To examine the mediating role of psychological distress on the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and adult alcohol problems by gender.

Methods: Linear and logistic regression analyses were conducted on 7279 Kaiser-Permanente members, aged >18 years.

Results: Psychological distress mediated significant proportions of alcohol problems associated with childhood emotional abuse and neglect, physical abuse and neglect, mental illness in the household, parental separation or divorce, sexual abuse, and household drug use among women and mental illness in the household, emotional neglect, physical abuse, household drug use, and sexual abuse among men.

Conclusion: It may be important to identify early childhood trauma and adult psychological distress in programs that focus on reducing alcohol abuse.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholism / etiology*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult