Children with developmental disabilities experience higher levels of adversity.


University of South Dakota, Department of Social Work, Sioux Falls, SD, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) experience significant health disparities. An overlooked risk factor for health disparities in the DD population is adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The purpose of this study was to generate population prevalence data about level of adverse experiences among children with DD in comparison to children without DD and the extent to which potential confounders may influence observed associations between adversity and child DD status.
METHODS : Data from the 2011-12 National Survey of Child Health (NSCH) were analyzed to estimate prevalence of adversity among families of children with and without DD, age 3-17 years (N = 62,428; DD = 2622). Level of adversity was assessed via parent response to the Adverse Family Experiences questionnaire. Bivariate and multinomial logistic regressions were utilized to investigate the relationship between adverse family experiences (AFEs) and child DD status, adjusting for covariates.
RESULTS : Child DD status was significantly and independently associated with higher probability of reporting 1-2 AFEs (RRR = 1.28, 95% CI 1.06, 1.5) and 3+ AFEs (RRR = 1.60, 95% CI 1.16, 2.21).
CONCLUSIONS : This study documents significant disparities in adversity among children with DD using a population-based sample. These adversities potentially compromise successful transition to adulthood and overall health outcomes.


Adverse childhood experiences,Developmental disability,Social determinants of health,Socioeconomic Status,