Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) affect numerous outcomes in adulthood, but relatively few studies examine their implications for adolescents. Understanding the effects of ACEs is important since adolescent behaviors affect subsequent life course milestones and transitions. One area of the ACEs research that is deficient involves adolescent substance use. In addition, there is a paucity of studies addressing whether the association between ACEs and substance use differs by race/ethnicity. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, this study aims to fill these gaps by (a) examining whether adolescents who experience more ACEs tend to be at higher risk of alcohol and marijuana use; and (b) whether the association between ACEs and these forms of substance use differs among White, Black, and other racial/ethnic youth. The results show that, among Black youth, ACEs tend to affect alcohol and marijuana use at high levels (four or more). Among White youth, this association is limited to marijuana use. Nonetheless, age and peer substance use appear to have more consequential effects on the odds of alcohol and marijuana. The findings suggest that additional research is warranted, but that ACEs should be a focus of research on adolescent substance use.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Shurtliff, Tacey Micole Matheson, "ACEs and Substance use: Understanding the Influence of Childhood Experiences on Substance Use in Adolescence across Race and Ethnicity" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 9034.
adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), delinquency, substance use, race/ethncity