Adverse Childhood Experiences and Education Outcomes among Adolescents: Linking Survey and Administrative Data

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Sep 14;19(18):11564. doi: 10.3390/ijerph191811564.


It is well established that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with detrimental health outcomes in adulthood. Less is known about the relationships between ACEs and education outcomes and among adolescents. The aim of this study was to examine the associations between ACEs and adolescents' self-reported education outcomes and provincial education assessments among adolescents in Manitoba, Canada. Data were gathered from 1002 adolescents who participated in the Well-Being and Experiences (WE) Study. A subsample of the adolescents (84%) consented to having their WE survey data linked to administrative education databases. Binary and multinomial logistic regression models were computed to examine associations between ACE history and self-reported education outcomes and provincial education assessments, adjusting for sociodemographic variables. Adolescents with an ACE history had significantly increased likelihood of having ever been suspended from school (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 3.33, 95% CI 1.60-6.92), of lower grades (adjusted relative risk ratio (aRRR) = 3.21, 95% CI 1.42-7.29), and of chronic school absenteeism (aRRR = 2.45, 95% CI 1.28-4.68) compared with adolescents without an ACE history after adjusting for sociodemographic variables. Findings from this study illuminate the important relationship between childhood adversity and poor education outcomes assessed directly by adolescents. Increasing awareness of the public health risk associated with ACEs and education outcomes may inform education policy and school-based interventions.

Keywords: administrative data; adolescents; adverse childhood experiences (ACEs); child maltreatment; education; survey data; the Well-Being and Experiences Study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences*
  • Canada
  • Humans
  • Schools

Grants and funding

Preparation of this manuscript was supported by the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba—Research Manitoba Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship (Stewart-Tufescu), a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Childhood Adversity and Resilience at the University of Manitoba (Afifi), a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation Scheme Award (Afifi), a CIHR Gold Leaf Award (Afifi), the Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research (Afifi), and the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy Rady Faculty Research Support Fund (Afifi). Yakubovich is supported by CIHR (HIS-166388). The funding bodies did not play a role in the design of the study, data collection, data analysis, interpretation of the findings, or writing of the manuscript.