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Those with four or more ACEs by the fall of 2020 had 2.71-fold increased likelihood of reporting a new ACE in spring of 2021.

Adverse childhood experience (ACE) exposure was common before and during the pandemic, and new ACEs were more likely among those who had multiple ACEs before or early in the pandemic, according to a study published online May 9 in Pediatrics.

Marci Hertz, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues recruited adolescents aged 13 to 18 years (727 in the fall of 2020 [wave 1] and 569 in the spring of 2021 [wave 2]) who responded to questions about household challenges, violence or neglect, and community ACE exposure.

There were 506 respondents to both survey waves. The researchers found that 27.2, 50.9, and 34.9 percent experienced violence or abuse, a household challenge, and a community ACE, respectively, by wave 1. By wave 2, 17.6, 6.1, and 2.7 percent experienced one, two, and four or more new ACEs, respectively. The likelihood of reporting a new ACE at wave 2 was increased 2.71-fold for those with four or more ACEs by wave 1 versus those with none.

“This study’s findings highlight the occurrence of new ACEs among vulnerable adolescents who had multiple ACEs before or early in the pandemic,” the authors write. “The burden of ACEs and their associated impacts on health necessitates the implementation and scale-up of prevention and intervention strategies across school, home, and community settings to mitigate negative health and academic impacts and promote resilience.”

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