Childhood adversity among Black children: The role of supportive neighborhoods


The relationship between adverse childhood experiences and increased risk of negative health outcomes in adulthood is well established. Previous ACEs research on subgroups has focused on differences between racial/ethnic groups or differences between the sexes. Few studies have taken an intersectional approach and studied ACEs and related outcomes by race/ethnicity and sex among children. Because ACEs occur at the individual, family, and community-level, approaches to preventing and mitigating ACEs must be multilevel as well. This study seeks to fill that gap by examining sex differences in the prevalence of ACEs, the types of ACEs experienced, and the effect of neighborhood characteristics on the prevalence of ACEs among Black children. Data from the 2016–17 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) Combined Data Set was used. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the study population, the prevalence of ACEs by sex, and the most common types of ACEs experienced by sex. Separate logistic regression models by sex were performed to examine the effect of living in supportive and safe neighborhoods on the odds of experiencing at least one ACE. Separate logistic regression models for the four most commonly reported ACEs were run as well. There were no statistically significant sex differences in ACE scores or the most commonly reported ACEs. Living in a supportive neighborhood reduced the odds of girls experiencing an ACE but did not reduce the odds of boys experiencing an ACE. Black boys and girls have different exposures and experiences that shape their health. Understanding these underlying factors is integral to creating effective targeted ACEs-related prevention and intervention programs and policies.

Publication Title

Children and Youth Services Review