Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Substance Misuse among Justice-Involved Children

Micah E. Johnson, Khary K. Rigg, Enya B. Vroom, Zahra Akbari, Skye C. Bristol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are linked to substance use (SU) and substance use disorders (SUD). However, this relationship has yet to be tested among justice-involved children (JIC), and it is unclear if racial/ethnic differences exist. This study aimed to determine: (1) whether ACEs are associated with increased risk of SU and SUD among JIC; and (2) if the effects of ACEs on SU and SUD are moderated by race/ethnicity. Methods: Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were employed to examine a statewide dataset of 79,960 JIC from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Marginal odds were estimated to examine how race moderates the relationship between ACEs and SU and SUD. Results: Results showed higher ACEs scores were linked to SU and SUD. Black JIC were 2.46 times more likely, and Latinx JIC were 1.40 times more likely to report SU than white JIC. Specifically, Black and Latinx JIC with a higher average ACEs score were more likely to report SU but less likely to have ever been diagnosed with a SUD when compared to white JIC with equivalent ACEs. Conclusions: Study results highlight the need to develop trauma-informed and culturally appropriate interventions for SU and SUD among JIC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • adverse childhood experiences
  • Juvenile justice
  • race
  • substance use
  • substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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