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Sex-specific relationships between adverse childhood experiences and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in five states

Authors Cunningham T, Ford E, Croft J, Merrick M, Rolle I, Giles W

Received 22 May 2014

Accepted for publication 4 July 2014

Published 26 September 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 1033—1043


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Timothy J Cunningham,1 Earl S Ford,1 Janet B Croft,1 Melissa T Merrick,2 Italia V Rolle,3 Wayne H Giles1

1Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA; 2Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA; 3Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

Purpose: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) before age 18 have been repeatedly associated with several chronic diseases in adulthood such as depression, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke. We examined sex-specific relationships between individual ACEs and the number of ACEs with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the general population.
Materials and methods: Data from 26,546 women and 19,015 men aged ≥18 years in five states of the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were analyzed. We used log-linear regression to estimate prevalence ratios (PRs) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the relationship of eight ACEs with COPD after adjustment for age group, race/ethnicity, marital status, educational attainment, employment, asthma history, health insurance coverage, and smoking status.
Results: Some 63.8% of women and 62.2% of men reported ≥1 ACE. COPD was reported by 4.9% of women and 4.0% of men. In women, but not in men, there was a higher likelihood of COPD associated with verbal abuse (PR =1.30, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.61), sexual abuse (PR =1.69, 95% CI: 1.36, 2.10), living with a substance abusing household member (PR =1.49, 95% CI: 1.23, 1.81), witnessing domestic violence (PR =1.40, 95% CI: 1.14, 1.72), and parental separation/divorce (PR =1.47, 95% CI: 1.21, 1.80) during childhood compared to those with no individual ACEs. Reporting ≥5 ACEs (PR =2.08, 95% CI: 1.55, 2.80) compared to none was associated with a higher likelihood of COPD among women only.
Conclusion: ACEs are related to COPD, especially among women. These findings underscore the need for further research that examines sex-specific differences and the possible mechanisms linking ACEs and COPD. This work adds to a growing body of research suggesting that ACEs may contribute to health problems later in life and suggesting a need for program and policy solutions.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, childhood, abuse, sex

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