Adverse childhood experiences and risk of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Metabolism. 2015 Nov;64(11):1408-18. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2015.08.019. Epub 2015 Sep 2.


Aims: It is evident that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can influence health status of adult life, but few large-scale studies have assessed the relation of ACEs with type 2 diabetes. This meta-analysis aimed to summarize existing evidence on the link between ACEs and type 2 diabetes in adults.

Materials and method: We searched all published studies from PubMed and EMBASE before Aug 2015 using keywords like adverse childhood experiences and diabetes, and scanned references of relevant original articles. We included studies that reported risk estimates for diabetes by ACEs and matched our inclusion criteria. We examined the overall relationship between ACEs and diabetes, and stratified the analyses by type of childhood adversities, study design and outcome measures, respectively.

Results: Seven articles fulfilled the inclusion criteria for this Meta-analysis, comprising 4 cohort and 3 cross-section studies. A total of 87,251 participants and 5879 incident cases of type 2 diabetes were reported in these studies. The exposure of ACEs was positively associated with the risk of diabetes with a combined odds ratio of 1.32 (95% confidence interval 1.16 to 1.51) in the total participants. The influence of neglect was most prominent (pooled odds ratio 1.92, 95% confidence interval 1.43 to 2.57) while the effect of physical abuse was least strong (pooled odds ratio 1.30, 95% confidence interval 1.19 to 1.42). The pooled odds ratio associated with sexual abuse was 1.39 with the 95% confidence intervals from 1.28 to 1.52.

Conclusions: The results support a significant association of adverse childhood experiences with an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes in adulthood.

Keywords: Abuse; Adverse childhood experiences; Childhood adversities; Meta-analysis; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors