Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) have been previously linked to quality of life, health conditions, and life expectancy in adulthood. Less is known about the potential mechanisms which mediate these associations. This study examined how ACE influences adult health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a low-income community in Florida.
Methods: A community-based participatory needs assessment was conducted from November 2013 to March 2014 with 201 residents of Tampa, Florida, USA. HRQoL was measured by an excessive number of unhealthy days experienced during the previous 30-day window. Mediation analyses for dichotomous outcomes were conducted with logistic regression. Bootstrapped confidence intervals were generated for both total and specific indirect effects.
Results: Most participants reported 'good to excellent health' (76%) and about a fourth reported 'fair to poor health' (24%). The mean of total unhealthy days was 9 days per month (SD ± 10.5). Controlling for demographic and neighborhood covariates, excessive unhealthy days was associated with ACE (AOR = 1.23; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.43), perceived stress (AOR = 1.07; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.10), and sleep disturbance (AOR = 8.86; 3.61, 21.77). Mediated effects were significant for stress (β = 0.08) and sleep disturbances (β = 0.11) as they related to the relationship between ACE and excessive unhealthy days.
Conclusion: ACE is linked to adult HRQoL. Stress and sleep disturbances may represent later consequences of childhood adversity that modulate adult quality of life.