An Investigation of Black and White College Students’ Knowledge About the Long-Term Effects of ACEs
Keywords:Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), Long-term health, College students, Diversity
In the past twenty years, multiple studies have shown the relationship between childhood adversity and later negative health consequences. Yet the extent to which the public is aware of this relationship is unclear. We surveyed Black and White college students about their knowledge of the long-term effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Students read vignettes comparing children exposed and unexposed to ACEs, and predicted their mental, physical, and social health as adults. Participants were aware of the effect of ACEs on later mental and social health, but not as aware of the risks on physical health. Black and White students had similar knowledge, but Black students attributed some childhood adversity (e.g., physical abuse) as having less impact in adulthood than White participants. These results offer insight into the beliefs of college students and could serve as a basis for targeted interventions aimed at raising awareness and preventing adversity.
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