Faculty Publication: Assistant Professor of Social Work Kerry Lee

June 3, 2022

The Negative Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on Behavioral Problems of Children in Kinship Care: The Protective Role of Kinship Caregivers' Mental Health

Authors: Xu, Yanfeng; Jedwab, Merav; Lee, Kerry A.; Levkoff, Sue E.

Source: Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, Article Number: 10634266221076475, DOI: 10.1177/10634266221076475, May 2022

Type of Publication: Journal Article

Abstract: This study aims to examine the (a) prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among children in kinship care; (b) relationships between the number and type of ACEs and children's internalizing and externalizing problems; and (c) moderating role of kinship caregivers' mental health on the relationships between ACEs and children's internalizing and externalizing problems. A sample of children in kinship care (N = 224) obtained from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II was used. Ordinary least squares regression models were conducted. Results indicated that neglect followed by parental substance abuse were found to be the most prevalent ACEs. Child neglect, sexual and emotional abuse, and parental substance abuse were significantly associated with child internalizing problems, whereas sexual and emotional abuse were significantly associated with child externalizing problems. The total number of ACEs and experiencing three or more ACEs were significantly associated with child externalizing problems. Kinship caregivers' mental health significantly moderated the relationships between neglect, sexual abuse, and child internalizing problems. Caregiver's mental health also moderated the relationships between emotional and sexual abuse, neglect, and children's externalizing problems. Findings suggest the importance of addressing ACEs and the need for mental health services to both kinship caregivers and children in kinship care.

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