The Link Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Diabetes

  • Lindsay Huffhines
  • Amy Noser
  • Susana R. PattonEmail author
Psychosocial Aspects (S Jaser and KK Hood, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Psychosocial Aspects


Exposure to adversity in childhood (adverse childhood experiences [ACEs]) is linked to a number of chronic diseases in adulthood, yet there is limited research examining the impact of ACEs on diabetes. The current review sought to examine the association between ACEs, other trauma exposure or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis, and risk for diabetes. Thirty-eight studies are reviewed. Unlike in other diseases, several studies in diabetes show a threshold-response versus a dose-response relation, while other studies show a relation between greater abuse severity and diabetes risk. There were mixed results for studies examining abuse type and frequency. Chronic or comorbid PTSD was also related to increased diabetes risk among veterans, but in community samples, only trauma exposure predicted diabetes risk. While the research is still limited, diabetes researchers and clinicians should consider screening for ACEs and examine severity and frequency across abuse type as a predictor of both diabetes and poor diabetes outcomes.


Adverse childhood experiences Maltreatment PTSD Diabetes 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Lindsay Huffhines, Amy Noser, and Susana R. Patton declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsay Huffhines
    • 1
    • 2
  • Amy Noser
    • 1
    • 2
  • Susana R. Patton
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.University of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Center for Children’s Healthy Lifestyles and DevelopmentKansas CityUSA
  3. 3.University of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA

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