The overarching goal of this study is to better understand how adverse childhood experiences and adult adversities cluster together by gender.
Methods/Approach We used latent class analysis (LCA) in the College Student Health Survey (CSHS), a large state surveillance system of 2- and 4-year Minnesota college students to identify clusters of childhood adversities plus highly correlated adult adversities among emerging adults aged 18–24. Exploratory LCA was conducted in 2015 data and replicated with 2018 data. Given observed differences between men and women with regard to experiences of adversities, the analyses were stratified by gender.
Results In the 2015 sample, the seven-class and five-class models were selected for females and males, respectively, based on fit statistics and class interpretability. Both females and males had a low adversity and childhood household dysfunction with childhood emotional abuse clusters. The low adversity clusters made up the highest prevalence in each sample, 48% for females and 66% for males. In females, the remaining clusters included childhood household mental illness, high adversities, adult sexual abuse, childhood emotional abuse, and high adult adversities with low child adversities. In contrast, in males, the remaining clusters were childhood household alcohol abuse, child physical and emotional abuse, and intimate partner emotional abuse. The classes identified in the 2015 sample replicated well in the 2018 sample.
Conclusions The assessment of adversity clusters revealed distinct patterns of lifetime adversity by gender. These different patterns may have different impacts throughout life that are not captured by a simple summed score of the number of adversities.
Significance and Contributions to Injury and Violence Prevention Science The unique pattern of adversity from those with different backgrounds is important to prevent adversity and to advance understanding of its impacts across different populations.
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