The Latent Class Analysis of Adverse Childhood Experiences among Chinese Children and Early Adolescents in Rural Areas and Their Association with Depression and Suicidal Ideation

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Nov 30;19(23):16031. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192316031.


Exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is a global public health concern that is detrimental to the psychological outcomes of Chinese children in rural areas due to the lack of public awareness of ACEs and mental health resources. The objective of this study was to identify the patterns of ACEs and the impact of ACE patterns on depression and suicidal ideation among 4683 students (mean age = 10.08 years, SD = 0.99; 48.17% female students) from 63 elementary schools in rural areas in Guizhou Province, China. Latent class analysis was conducted to identify the best class pattern. A three-step approach was undertaken to explore the association between the class patterns and demographic covariates and depression and suicidal thoughts. An overall three-class pattern of ACEs was identified, which was: (1) high ACEs, (2) high verbal abuse and emotional neglect and low household dysfunction, and (3) low ACEs. The results also showed that children in the high ACEs class tended to show higher depression rates and more frequent suicidal ideation across the three groups. Being female and younger and having a lower socioeconomic status were risk factors. Our study identified a class pattern that was not found in previous research, which is high verbal abuse and emotional neglect and low household dysfunction.

Keywords: Chinese rural areas; adverse childhood experiences; depression; latent class analysis; suicidal ideation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences*
  • Child
  • East Asian People
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Latent Class Analysis
  • Male
  • Students / psychology
  • Suicidal Ideation

Grants and funding

This research receives is funded under National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. NSF 71973150).